As one amazing experience comes to an end, we are looking for another volunteer art teacher to continue the great work of Athena – a volunteer offering art classes to a primary school in Kenya. Read Athena’s coming home report to see if you could follow in her footsteps, and come back a changed person.
“As I am nearing the end of my volunteership in Watamu, Kenya, I can’t ignore the slight lump in my throat as I think about the little time I have left here… I have been volunteering in Watamu for almost two months, primarily working as an art teacher at the most beautiful grassroots school called Blue Bells Junior Academy.
The school is very small, only consisting of 50 children and this gave me ample opportunity to take personal interest in each and every one of the children I taught. Coming from limited teaching experience, I had my reservations and insecurities about how I would be able to handle a class of 20 kids, but surprisingly, I slipped into my role easily – not without the help of the amazing teachers at the school.
Through my experience at Blue Bells, I have found an entirely new respect for teachers, seeing how hard they work under rather difficult circumstances was truly humbling. As mentioned before, I primarily worked as an art teacher, teaching three one-hour-long art classes a day, while also helping in other classrooms by assisting with exam invidulation and marking, as well as creating bright and beautiful posters for the teachers to put up in their classrooms.
My time here has been personally uplifting. I came with the goal to be as flexible and as engaged as I possibly could and I feel as though these two things helped me acclimatize to the foreign environment and the experience of traveling alone very well.
I came to the school with all the art lessons already pre-planned but on my first day, I really got to gauge how well the students understood my instruction and had to adjust all further lessons to suit my individual classes.
The children loved learning some of the basic art techniques I taught them about colours and shapes as well as using play-dough for the first time. But I must say, the best time I had with the children was when we engaged in dialogue and played outside, their vibrancy and enthusiasm to learn and grow has regenerated my passion for children and creativity.
There is nothing I can express in words that will truly explain how rewarding this experience has been but all I can say is that I am leaving here a better person than I was when I arrived, and I will certainly be back for more !”