‘Teacher Jody is ever disturbing us. She wants us to do a lot more work and she is not giving us any motivation to do it”.

That was a comment from a local primary school teacher to her head teacher – a little complaint about me. Now let me explain what the word ‘motivation’ means in that sentence – it means I am not giving her money to teach.

Context: This comment came from a teacher in one of the worst government schools in Gulu. Her children are about 8 years old and they can barely read. Results at this school are pretty shocking.

These comments came from a government-employed teacher. Each month her salary gets paid into her bank account. The teacher also decided not to teach ‘extra lessons’ because she hadn’t been paid for teaching extra lessons last term. Extra lessons began years ago as ‘remedial lessons’ (lessons that are earlier and later than the government timetable) to help children catch up on any missed learning. These days I have been trying to encourage teachers to teach specific reading skills during these extra lessons because it can be difficult to find time to do this during other lesson time – and all schools have them!

Since the term began, this teacher has not taught any reading lessons.

I’m not giving up though. I am still going to ‘disturb’ this teacher. After all, she is there for the children (apparently so, however I have never heard her mention the word children when she talks to me).

Fortunately this teacher is not the ‘norm’. However I couldn’t have you all thinking that life was all roses…

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