For the love of teaching and serving vulnerable children in the community, Edith Mwauluka has been teaching voluntarily at Lubuyungu Community School in Kaoma District, Western-Province.
Mrs. Mwauluka started teaching at Lubuyungu in 2015 when she realised that she could help vulnerable children in the community by letting her passion lead the way and make a difference especially after noticing children walked long distances to have access to education in most rural communities like hers.
Mrs. Mwauluka has been teaching grade one and five at the school and her efforts of teaching have in most cases been “paid” in form of gifts in kind- a bag of maize, chickens and many other farm products that the parents package as a token of appreciation for her services rendered monthly.
She says, “As a voluntary teacher I depend on contributions from parents for my survival, there is no standard salary that I get”.
Since the onset of COVID 19 last year, and the abrupt closure of schools, volunteer teachers did not just worry about the learners missing out on learning but there was a negative impact on their monthly packages.
She explained that before covid-19, the Parent Community School Committee (PCSC) members ensured that teachers received their appreciation packages but when the pandemic hit, it became difficult to mobilise the contributions as parents equally complained of the hardships.
Even after the reopening of schools, the parents according to Mrs. Mwauluka could not afford to support as they did previously as COVID plunged them into extreme poverty, thereby monthly contributions from parents reduced making it difficult for a volunteer teacher to make it through the month.
In addition to that challenge, “When schools opened from the long closure a lot of learners were not in the right state of mind to start learning as most of them were not involved in any e-learning activity during the closure but were just working in their family farms and this made it difficult for the learners to pick up from where they left with learning,” Mwauluka said.
To support learners get up to date with their lessons, teachers have introduced extra sessions. As a teacher, I have had to be creative on how well I could support learners to learn for life and not just for the exams.