Senior Education Major Teaches Class of 115 in Uganda

Global Learning Scholarship Provides International Teaching Opportunity

By Amber Bauerlein '15
Monday, December 8, 2014

Last summer, John Brown University senior Kalee Holloway traveled to Uganda for a month to provide education, medicine and ministry to the people of Kamuli and Jinja. Holloway, an early education major, taught math, science, English and American culture in three different primary schools.

Because it is the lowest paying job in the country, teachers are scarce and the multi-age classrooms are overfull. Holloway sometimes had up to 115 students in a class.

The hardest part of teaching for Holloway was overcoming the differences between Ugandan curriculum and her teaching style. Holloway brought books, educational songs and activities for the students to do, but was often met with resistance. In Uganda, students are used to writing down what the teacher puts on the board and then taking a test over the material. 

“That was a challenge for me because I was expected to teach them in a way they've never been taught before,” said Holloway. Once they caught on to what she was doing, Holloway said the students really embraced her lessons. “By the end of the trip, it was really cool to see them looking at the books and teaching the songs we learned to their friends.”

Holloway has always wanted to be a teacher and really espoused the education program at JBU. Learning different teaching styles, making student accommodations and understanding the importance of a student’s background are all tools Holloway has acquired at JBU. “What separates the JBU education department from other education departments is that they give you so many opportunities to actually teach, and it is very hands on; it's very intentional.”

Teaching in Uganda opened Holloway’s eyes to how important it is for a teacher to care for individual students beyond their grades. One of the schools she taught at was located above the village where most of the students lived so she could see where her students came from and returned to when not in class. This knowledge motivated Holloway to impact their lives as much as possible in the little time she had with them.

“Teachers can have a huge impact on students because they're with them for an extraordinary amount of time throughout the year in their classrooms. When I have my students I want them to see the love of Christ through me in some small way, whether that be through a song or a book or a touch on the back. I think Uganda led me into that mindset, and helped me bring that back with me.”

Holloway received one of two Global Learning Scholarships from the JBU Department of Education. The scholarship provided for her to travel to Africa.

Holloway plans to teach after graduating in the spring, though she hasn’t decided if she will teach in the States or abroad.

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