By Glory Guy
I have had the immense privilege of being one of the middle school MK teachers in Kibuye for the last year and a half, and I couldn’t be gladder that I took the phone call in March 2020 where a dear friend asked me, “Would you consider teaching in Burundi?” This job has been such a joy, and will continue to influence my life as both a teacher and a human even after I leave Burundi.
Kibuye is in desperate need of another teacher for the 2023-2024 school year, so as we pray and hope for another teacher, here is a picture of a day in the life of an MK teacher!
7:50 am – One of the teachers rings the school bell, and for the next ten minutes there is a flurry of laughter and changing from outside shoes to inside shoes as students head to their first class of the day. I open the curtains, turn on some music for the morning and set up the bellringer for my first class at 8 am, which is 8th grade Reading and Writing.
8:00 am – My two eighth graders and I have spent the past year and a half in class together for most of every day, so I have the privilege of knowing them very well. They are my students, but I wear many hats with them, teacher, big sister, aunt, babysitter, the one who comes over for movie night, etc. This is one of the sweetest things about life in Kibuye that is different from life as a teacher in the States, I get to walk with my students for multiple years and watch them grow, academically, spiritually, emotionally, etc. I teach them for three blocks every day, Reading and Writing, Language Arts, and History. As eighth grade is the last year at KHA, we are currently preparing for major transition as they head off to a new school next year.
8:50 – My students transition to Bible class, and I head home for a quick 20-minute coffee break, before I teach my next class at 9:10.
9:10 – My second class of the day begins, 4th and 6th grade Reading and Writing. We do not currently have any 5th graders at KHA, so 4th and 6th grade are combined for this course. This class is slightly differentiated due to difference in grade level, so we do our Reading work together and I alternate in teaching 6th and 4th grade Writing depending on the day. When I work with 4th grade, 6th grade works independently and vice versa.
10:00 am – Students flood out the front door for a quick 20-minute recess. They run home for a snack, jump off the swings on the playground, ride on the zipline (so cool, right?), or hang out on the school’s front porch. My two roommates and I walk the approximately 30 step commute between our home and the school, and greet our house helper who is washing the dishes or baking in our kitchen. We debrief telling funny stories about our mornings, while we make more coffee or tea, grab a quick snack, hang laundry, pull various things (such as cheese, cooked vegetables, quiche, ground beef, etc) out of the freezer to defrost for whoever is in charge of dinner for that evening.
10:20 am – Recess ends, and my third class of the day begins. This class is middle school Language Arts with 6th and 8th grade students, who are two sets of siblings! We begin with my students’ favorite part of the da,y when they are given 20 minutes to read to themselves! We put on classical music and our twinkle lights, and students have the option to read on the carpet, at or on their desk, on our little back porch, or even in a tree. At 10:40 we reconvene for class, and 6th grade and 8th grade divide based on grade level for their grammar or spelling lessons for the day. Depending on the day, I work with one grade level while the other grade works independently.
11:30 am – This is my planning period, which also doubles as a time when I supervise 4th grade Language Arts. From 11:30-12:10 I plan classes for the following week and catch up on grading, and if fourth grade has any questions I work with him to answer those.
12:10 pm – This is one of my favorite parts of my day, when the middle schoolers begin their chores! This includes sweeping, wiping the blackboard, taking out the trash, and cleaning the chalk board erasers in the school before they head home for lunch. During this five-minute period, I put on a favorite Disney song of the day and we dance and sing along as chores take place!
12:15 – 1:15 pm – Lunch time! On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I head to a family’s house for lunch. This is one of my favorite time blocks in my week. I get to spend time with a family that I love, and put on my “auntie” hat rather than my teacher hat. I get a chance to chat with friends and teammates and play with sweet kiddos who I don’t have in the classroom! On Wednesdays, our only middle school girl comes over to our house for lunch. She is the only girl above age eight on the compound, so we take Wednesday lunches to get some gal time with her.
1:15 – 1:50 pm – This is my second to last block of the day, which is 4th and 6th grade History. This year we are taking on the Middle Ages, studying knights, castles, and epic battles, needless to say my three boys in this class are thrilled.
1:50 – 2:30 pm – I send my 4th-6th graders off to their next block, and 8th grade comes in for the last class of the day, which is American Government. Though we live in Burundi, most of our missionary kids end up at other schools across the world for high school, whether that be at a popular boarding school in Kenya, where many of our Kibuye kids go, or a school in the States. This also doubles as our “read aloud” time, where my students draw, craft, or most recently finger knit, while I read aloud a class novel for about 10 minutes. We most recently finished S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, which they adored. One of my favorite parts of my day is getting to read aloud and discuss books with my students. They are thoughtful, inquisitive, asks lively questions, and are always so excited for this time.
2:30 – 3:00 pm – Though students head to one of their specials, be it Music, P.E, or Art, I finish tidying up my classroom and make any last-minute preparations for the following day before I pack up and head home for the afternoon!
3:00 – 6:00 pm – This part of my day looks a little bit different depending on the day of the week! Sometimes, especially on stormy days, I let the rain lull me to sleep for a quick nap after school. Other days I do laundry, go on a run, curl up on the couch with a book, puzzle, got to various team meetings, or hang out in the hammock with kiddos in our backyard after school. Wednesdays are my day for dinner, so I usually begin prepping for dinner between 4:00 and 4:30 for 6:00 or 6:30 dinner with my roommates. Usually, this is interrupted in the most delightful ways by children tapping on our screen door to say hello, to drop off a can of corn or mushrooms from their mother, or a flower they picked in the yard, while other days they request to play or just want a hug.
6:00-7:00 pm – dinner with roommates or teammates depending on the evening!
7:00 – 10:00 pm – During this time I respond to emails, talk to people on the phone who live in the States or on other continents with different time zones, and wind down for the evening. I fall asleep to the sound of rain or of crickets, and another Kibuye day comes to an end!
Thanks for following along on this glimpse into the life of a Kibuye MK teacher! It is an honor to be a part of this team that has dedicated their lives to the work of the Lord in Burundi!