“I come to school daily 30 minutes before pupils arrive. This helps me to do a lot in preparation for my class; gathering additional materials, consulting my colleagues and attending to my class on time. I learnt to support myself and help other teachers through the support offered by the DFID/ESSPIN teacher mentoring strategy,” says Mohammed Danhari, a teacher in Karshi Primary School. He is one of the 2,004 teachers trained in the ESSPIN School Improvement Programme.
DFID/ESSPIN’s teacher development model is built on the principles of mentorship which allows the school support officers to provide professional support to school heads and classroom teachers for improved quality of service delivery. Karshi Primary school in Ringim LGA is one of the 501 schools benefiting from this training and in-school support package. Mal. Mohammed, who was usually absent or late, now feels more comfortable in his job and is relating more closely with his colleagues. ‘Our school was never interesting. You were always bored by stereo-type lesson planning without opportunity to learn from others. Everyone was to himself until now. The school support visit has helped me to share my notes with other teachers and sometimes watch them when they teach in their classes. I don’t want to miss school anymore’, he said.
The SBMC held three meetings last year to review teacher attendance. A letter of complaint was written to SUBEB to transfer some of the teachers due to absenteeism and lateness. This term the Chairman of the SBMC, Ahmed Suraja, observed high teacher attendance in their school and said, ‘It is quite surprising that our children hardly come back with empty note books. They always talk about school work and interaction with other pupils and teachers. We discovered that this remarkable change in teacher attitude was a result of the trainings and support from the SSOs and owe it much to the DFID/ESSPIN intervention in our school’.
The SUBEB had earlier embarked on advocacies and sensitization visits to communities and collaborated with the National Teachers Union to monitor teacher attendance in schools. Salaries were increased to motivate teachers, but such efforts did not produce any significant change in teachers’ attitude to work. ‘It takes more than salary to motivate teachers. Trainings and in-school support have surely helped in achieving better teacher attendance. We shall continue to expand this model to cover all 17,500 basic education teachers in Jigawa State’, Mal. Sani Shehu Gagarawa, the Head of Training and School Advisory Unit in SUBEB said with satisfaction.