After spending a good deal of time introducing apparatuses, luminous and non-luminous flames, Excel Academy chemistry teacher, Mr. Salim asked the class, “Are we all on the bus?” He wanted to make sure the students understood his explanations and were gaining knowledge during the lesson.

Some student heads nodded affirmatively. Others made no motion. Some seemed to be hurriedly scribbling notes to read later in preparation for the test.

External forces competing with teachers in many South Sudan classrooms include sounds from beyond thin mud walls. Horns beep. Big birds with big feet loudly land above on the iron sheet roofing. Voices in neighboring classroom cause distraction. Babies cry nearby. Animals make noise. Yet through it all, the teachers persevere. They keep teaching.

In spite of all the kerfuffle, learning happens. Last week, I witnessed students responding well to questions posed by their instructors. In chemistry, physics, and history, I enjoyed observing small group discussions, full class debates, and traditional classroom instruction. In each case, with each subject and teacher, it did seem that everyone was “on the bus.”

Africa ELI is pleased to be a part of the education process in South Sudan. We salute the teachers who show up, teach lessons, and encourage students to learn more each week. Step by step, day by day, progress is being made.

Mr. Salim teaches chemistry to over 100 students in a classroom at Excel Academy – Yei campus.

-Anita

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