After attending a three-year teacher college, John Kavishe taught for more than ten years with no encouragement or direction from the school administration or any form of professional development. He went straight from being behind the desk to standing in front of it with no resources to turn to for support. He felt lost because his students were not succeeding as he had always hoped they would.
“Most of my colleagues were encouraging me to quit,” he remembered. “While I was a student in primary school, I used to lead the class as a top academic performer. Then, when I failed to make a good teacher, it was discouraging.”
In 1998, Mr. Kavishe attended a five-day Mwangaza teaching seminar with a focus on research-based teaching strategies. It became immediately clear to him that his efforts as a teacher had been failing because he had not been properly trained. It was not, as he had feared, because he was not smart enough or talented enough. He became an excellent teacher when given the right tools and resources. “Before my Mwangaza education, students were not involved. I’d stand in front of the class and give them what I prepared.” Now, thanks to his time at Mwangaza, he knows students need active participation in lessons in order to fully understand the content.
Mr. Kavishe was so inspired by his experience that he stopped teaching and began working for the cause. He now works as a program director for Mwangaza to ensure no other teacher feels defeated as he once felt. He works hard each day to be a much needed resource to the teachers of Tanzania. After these many years, Mr. Kavishe still believes Mwangaza is making all the difference. “I still have to say that Mwangaza has a huge impact on the teachers’ and students’ academic progress.”