How Can Educators Prepare for a New Semester?

Article by Mrs. Akua Frema Asante-Agyei

 

Akua Frema Asante-Agyei Director of Assessment and Accountability

This got me thinking much more intensely than I had anticipated. Being through one hundred semesters, I guess one becomes complacent and takes for granted the amount of preparation required for a new semester. To share some tips on how best teachers can prepare for a new semester, I have categorized it into two main parts.

The Teacher

I will start with a question. How prepared are you mentally, emotionally, and physically? The answer to this simple question is probably one of the most overlooked areas of a teacher’s life. But the good news is, the teacher is in total control of that area.

One needs to be intentional about offloading the stresses of the previous semester, to be in the best position mentally, emotionally, and physically for a new semester. Get some rest, teachers. Do something you love. Too often, teachers tend to use breaks to catch up on ‘everything’, forgetting to allow themselves to catch up on the much-needed rest.

Taking a good break also allows the teacher to reflect on the activities of the previous semester and to plan ways of improving them. That said, a teacher should be ready for ‘surprises’, as education evolves practically on a daily basis. New strategies are devised every day to ensure the learner reaches their maximum potential, and it is up to the teacher to be ready to adjust to these new ways.

 Let’s now move on to some of the regular things teachers focus on.

The Teacher’s Work

Preparation for a new semester is an ongoing process. There is no start time. Every helpful material, resource, training, opportunity, or knowledge that a teacher comes across throughout the academic year can be used to make a new semester a success. One does not have to wait till the semester is about to start before psyching up.

To have a successful semester, the teacher’s preparation goes includes but not limited to the following.

 

Prepare the physical learning environment.

  • Ensuring one has a functional learning space can contribute immensely towards one having a smooth start. ‘Little, things such as calendars, birthday charts, welcome packs, name charts (if student list is available), being prepared helps to save some time. Don’t forget to consider the possibility of having new students though.
  • Electronic equipment, class furniture, and other useful items must be checked to ascertain their functionality.

Teaching Materials

  • As much as it lies within your power, ensure teaching and learning materials, including online ones, are set before the semester begins. For your ears only- you will definitely visit your favorite stationery store to check all items on your list.
  •  You may want to consider the involvement of the learning community and plan to inform them ahead of time. 
  • Where possible, plan a couple of lessons in advance. These may be tweaked or completely changed when the semester begins, but it helps to have a headstart.

Stay connected

My final tip is to remain plugged into your source of power. Pray! Pray! Pray! But don’t forget to Read! Read! Read! Learning is an ongoing process, even for the teacher- wait, especially for the teacher.

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Experience Education in Ghana | November Newsletter - Association International School

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CHECKING THROUGH THE NURSE’S STATION ON RAINY DAYS

Kindly take note of the following protocols to be observed whenever it rains during school hours:

• The pergola entrance must be used
• The nurse's station will administer alcohol hand sanitizers at the entrance
• The cafeteria shed would be used as a waiting/holding area until the rain subsides after which we shall proceed to our respective classes or departments. Stay Safe!


Observing COVID-19 protocols

Our institution has been successful in maintaining a COVID-free environment since the resumption of offline classes later in 2020. We have invested in the latest technology and medical equipment, enabling us to daily check our community’s vitals including lung condition. Our team has also played a huge role in ensuring that each member is free from the virus.


The Delta Variant

The symptoms of the Delta variant appear to be the same as the original version of COVID-19. However, it seems more severe with people getting sicker quickly, especially younger people.

Vaccinated people are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms if they contract the Delta variant and symptoms may include cough, fever or headache and a significant loss of smell.

We, therefore, entreat all of us to pay attention to the health of our wards and endeavor not to ignore complaints of headaches and aches especially when no physical activity has been done. Stay Safe


Natural medication

We strongly endorse Natural treatment remedies to minimize any possible negative effects of medicines on your child. We often encourage students and staff to consider natural remedies such as fruits and water before receiving drugs from our unit. Drugs are only offered as a last resort when a student or staff member’s minor health challenge does not seem to resolve. We also refrain from performing any invasives on our community members.

While we do our best to care for our community, we refrain from admitting students for periods longer than a day. This includes residential students. However, we ensure to make referrals to relevant clinics and hospitals with the knowledge of parents and important parties.


NEW COVID CDC GUIDELINES

Due to the different variants of COVID now on our shores and also based on

new guidelines from the CDC, AIS is now requesting that all children 2 years and above wear face

masks. We will also provide additional face shields for all our children as an added protective

measure. Each child is encouraged to report with either 2-3 disposable or cloth masks each day.

AIS also has school branded cloth face masks in stock for students who may need some.


AIS Student wins Lucrative Annual Writer’s Award

AIS Student wins Lucrative Annual Writer’s Award

Eugene Akoto Bamfo, 9 years old, was one of the students crowned winners of the 5th Annual Blooming Minds Young Writers and Achievers Awards, on the 1st of May 2021. The initiative which runs every year in Nigeria and Ghana aims to promote African literature and raise young leaders through literature and arts, by recognizing and rewarding children with creative abilities.

Eugene, a grade 3 student at Association International School, was a winner under category B which featured Short stories and poetry. The young, budding writer creatively penned down a 500-word essay on how COVID 19 had affected him and his environment.

“The theme for the competition was ‘My Community; My perspective. My personal experience, How Covid-19 has affected me and my community’. For me, it was an easy choice because even though the virus had affected me (and almost everyone) so negatively, my experience over the period when grandma caught a terrible cold and developed a fever remains the most terrible of all my experiences with the virus. We genuinely thought we would lose her” – Eugene Akoto Bamfo

For Eugene, the opportunity to write of an experience so close to him refined his ability to use knowledge and his exceptional writing skills to effectively communicate. Furthermore, it has fostered a new level of confidence necessary for his development into adulthood.

“Winning this award has exceeded all my expectations, and my expectations were pretty high, to begin with, the outpour of love and support has been nothing short of amazing. Firstly, my mum says I’m a celebrity now (I know she’s joking but I feel like one), but watching how my younger brother Nigel has been so motivated by my win means the world to me, it makes me want to do so much more”

Mr. Alex Mutwiri Kuigu, Eugene’s English teacher, also his favorite teacher, made the competition known to the class as well as Eugene’s mother, with much confidence in her son’s ability. Mr. Kiugu describes Eugene as an above-average student who is very open-minded, confident, knowledgeable, and a risk-taker.

The subtle encouragement from his teacher not only boosted his confidence but opened doors to the opportunity of taking home GHS 750 which Eugene used very adventurously.

“I’ve bought loads of storybooks from my cash price, a couple of toys, I had a photoshoot with my family featuring my prize, I took my cousins out for lunch and we continued to the Achimota playgrounds. My mum is organizing a vacation for the family in honor of my win and surprisingly she’s opened an account for me with the same amount!!!”

The Blooming Minds Young Writers Award aims to nurture a writing culture and promote arts in our youth community, providing children a platform to explore their creativity. They are motivated by our belief that creativity in children is a skill that builds a basis for a lifetime of clear communication, self-expression, and analytical thinking which will shape a huge part of every child’s future, and the future of our great country.

“This win is proof that when you put in the work, it will pay off, I encourage my peers to keep working hard and putting themselves out there because this world has a beautiful spot for each and every one of us” – Eugene Akoto Bamfo


AIS Easter Concert - Drawing Attention to the True meaning of Easter

AIS Easter Concert - Drawing Attention to the True meaning of Easter

While COVID-19 has made it almost impossible to celebrate Easter to its fullest, Association International School students did everything possible to visually illustrate the meaning of the season. Students and teachers managed to put up a 2 hour virtual Easter concert for public consumption.

The virtual concert commenced with a speech by Mr. Sammy Nakitare. He clarified the importance of the holiday and why AIS observed it.

“Easter season is important because this is the time we remember the death and resurrection of our Lord; it is through this that we gain eternal life” – Mr. Nakitare, Head of the English Department.

Students both in school and at home joined in the different facets of the concert through visual recordings. While AIS faculty members took charge to ensure each student on campus participated in the event, parents did their fair share of recording their children at home as they performed their dues.

The virtual concert consisted of scripture verses, orchestral music, dance shows, and a skit visually depicting the motive behind the celebration.

 

Excellent student involvement
“Our students played a huge role in the concert production. We had a song written and composed by one of the students Tsemi Lawson (Song title: Forgiven). The easter play was scripted by Anna-Clarissa Arlyn Lawson and performed by her peers” – Ms. Elsie Srodah; Head of Drama and Performing Art

A visual from Tsemi Lawson’s music video “Forgiven” where she featured some of her peers as well

Middle school students re-enact the “Passion of Christ” crucifixion scene

“Our goal was to draw attention to what Easter means–the death and resurrection of Christ. We wanted to sensitize the students and raise them as ambassadors of Christ” Adds Ms. Srodah

Students were also involved in the execution of the virtual concert. They were in charge of videography, editing, and hosting. Faculty members made the event possible by organizing their students for the event and making a special appearance through choral music.

Ms. Elsie Srodah facilitates the skit production

Mrs. Maria captured during a self-choreographed dance performance for the virtual concert

At the end of the concert, the Head of school, Mrs. Doryumu thanked the faculty members and students for such a wonderful show. She also urged each one to keep the faith and proclaim Christ to the rest of the world.

“I want us to go out there and share the good news of Jesus to everyone. Keep Jesus in your hearts and your minds” – Mrs. Doryumu, Head of School


Visual Activism through Urban Architecture with Fiona Azumah

“I have always had a desire for Architecture and that is what I want to do” — Fiona Azumah. IB Diploma 2 student at Association International School.

Fiona Azumah is a current IB Diploma 2 student at Association International School. She is part of the batch that will be leaving for tertiary education in a few months, with the hopes of studying Architecture. One of the requirements granting her a safe exit from high-school is her Art exhibition which she had been developing since joining the IB Diploma programme in August 2019. For Ms. Azumah, the desire to create better spaces began at a tender age when she would drive with her parents and notice shelterless individuals begging by the roadside.

A faculty member interacting with Fiona about her pieces

Interestingly, such memories were carried over to her IB Diploma art course when she finally found an avenue to speak of what she saw as a child in an attempt to have more people join the movement.

Visual art has become one of the most effective ways to draw attention to a social problem. It allows viewers to reason with the creator and imagine their idealized world. The architecture of inequality, for instance,  is one form of visual activism that illustrates a social decay and inherently compels the audience to move towards change.

“What I wanted to do was explore different structures, especially in this part of the world (Ghana). I started with how structures were made at the beginning (huts) and developed these into modern architecture. I also wanted to emphasize the connection between the three socio-economic divides; lower, middle, and upper classes, and how hard it is to move from the different distinctions”

“My pieces intend to make my viewers aware of these socio-economic divides and hopefully have them help solve the problem in any way”

A faculty member views one of Fiona’s intriguing 3D pieces

Students and a faculty member visit Fiona’s exhibition to learn more about urban architecture and the economic divisions it speaks about.

Economic disparity is revealed through housing. According to Fiona, there are better ways society could mitigate the issue of economic disparities. Moreso, it is a call to each architect to meet individual needs when attempting to create affordable, habitable spaces–something she hopes to do at the University.

Fiona hopes to come back after tertiary education and implement some of these changes within her Ghanaian community.