This report features Sharon Mbaki, one of the fabulous teachers at Shining Hope's Kibera School for Girls.
Sharon Mbaki, born and raised in Nairobi, is a new Head Teacher at the Kibera School for Girls. She joined KSG in June 2011 at the Assistant Teacher for 2nd grade, and was promoted to Head Teacher at the beginning of the school year this January. She is trained in primary education and guidance counseling and is now the 2nd grade Head Teacher.
“When you love it, teaching is easy,” she says. Though earlier in life she dreamed of a career as a tour guide, she fell in love with education in her college years. She says she has “come to love and treasure it.” As the oldest in her family, working with students comes naturally. She “treats [the girls] like my sisters, my friends.” Our headmistress Anne describes Sharon as “bold, courageous, and innovative. She likes to face new challenges.”
Joining the team at KSG was a transition for Sharon. Having grown up on the strict Kenyan system, she says she much prefers the KSG “child centered” student. Throughout her own education, she became accustomed to rote memorization and lecturing, what she described as a “teacher centered” model. Here, the students learn to model concepts and the teachers are allowed extensive time for each lessons. “Kids love the lessons and that encourages you to teach.” Other schools “are all about books and the students fear the teachers,” she described. Our girls are “open, they’re ready to learn. Other girls don’t know how to express themselves.”
Sharon has been continually impressed with the girls at KSG. The girls “have a lot of problems back at home. Sometimes they bring it back to school. I tell them, if you didn’t eat, I didn’t eat too. Put your differences out and we can learn.” Sharon’s training in guidance counseling allows her to support our students who have experienced emotional trauma. Her impact is palpable – her confident and excited second graders learn with a big smile on their faces. They feel comfortable presenting in front of the class and they always have their hand in the air to answer questions.
When asked about the girls’ future, she hopes they continue to develop their self-expression and find that which excites them in life. She says, “the sky is not the limit, because past the sky are the stars. There is always room for an improvement. A journey starts with a step.”
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