Curious about the day-to-day lives of her colleagues in other countries, teacher Joke De Dycker travels to the DR Congo. After a few days observing classes in a secondary agricultural school, she spends a day teaching herself, which doesn’t necessarily go as planned…

Sharing a classroom with 76 students

Joke De Dycker, teacher at a school in Belgium: “I was well aware that classes are a lot larger in Congo than in Flanders. So I started preparing my lessons for a class of about 40 students. On the day, I’m suddenly confronted with a group of 76 students! My first reaction was to run, but then I got the hang of it. Even though there was still a bit more chaos than I had hoped for.”
“If someone would ask me what I’ve learnt… well, let’s say I won’t be intimidated by a large classroom anymore. I know it’s possible, as long as you’re well prepared.”

Sleeping students

Joke: “What struck me in Congo, was the lack of interest some pupils showed in my class. That was confronting, but later I found out those students don’t eat during the day. That puts things in perspective. They even fall asleep during the last period because they’re so hungry. That context makes the teaching job even harder, but still my colleagues manage to stand in front of their classroom every day, with more motivation than ever.”