Teaching in the Land of the Unexpected

Posted on Posted in Mixed Nuts

By Laura Roberts

PNG is often referred to as “The Land of the Unexpected”. Teaching at Ukarumpa International School is not like teaching in the U.S. where a new teacher can be hired within a couple weeks of a vacancy. It can take months for teachers to arrive on the field, and we are not always sure when they will arrive. Plus, every few years, each teacher goes on home assignment, which creates a temporary teacher vacancy. Deciding how to meet all of the teacher needs at the school can be like working a big puzzle for our school administration. God does provide, though.

At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year the school was short a Gr. 5 Language Arts teacher. I was asked if I would consider teaching Gr. 5 Language Arts in addition to ESL. I have really enjoyed this opportunity to teach in the regular classroom, although at times it has been difficult fulfilling two teaching roles.

Now it is Christmas break, a time when traditionally a lot of people go on or return from home assignment. A big vacancy at the school is for Gr. 3, because our Gr. 3 teacher is going on home assignment for six months. The person planning on coming in January to teach Gr. 3 probably will not arrive in time for the beginning of the term, because her support is low. However, a part time teacher is now available to teach Gr. 5 Language Arts. Is your mind going in circles yet?

Here’s how the puzzle is working out. The part time teacher will take over teaching Gr. 5 Language Arts for the remainder of the school year. Until the new teacher arrives to teach Gr. 3, another educator and I will split the teaching duties for Gr. 3, in addition to our normal roles. Please pray for all the transitions that are happening for students and staff at the school, and especially for those of us that are taking on heavier loads than normal. Also please pray that the new teacher will be able to get all the financial support she needs quickly.

Laura is a school teacher at Ukarumpa Intl School.

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