As any teacher will tell you, getting – and keeping – the attention of a large class is no easy job. It’s no different for Brazilian teacher Eddir. Deep in the Amazonian rainforest, in the rural region of Para, Eddir teaches at one of the area’s most remote schools. Juggling many different ages and levels of learning, he tries valiantly to teach what he can in his packed but basic classroom.
Yet Eddir has hardly any resources. Even his own education is limited. “I only have a basic teacher’s course, but I have to teach all the different subjects in grades one to four and I teach two different classes each day,” he worries.
A long day ahead
Perched on the banks of the Rio Tocantins, Eddir’s tiny school serves one of North Brazil’s most isolated communities. The school day is made tougher by distracting conditions in the classroom; soaring humidity and stifling heat. “It’s hard for us to be thinking all the time because it’s so hot,” explains pupil Nayane. “I think our teachers are good, but they need to make our classes more interesting” she suggests.
But with limited resources and such thinly spread teachers, the question is how?
Changing futures with UNICEF
Just like many girls her age, Nayane dreams of being a singer when she grows up. But there’s no one in the school to teach her music. Just like there aren’t any history textbooks. Eddir knows the difference inspiring, engaging resources would make to the school day. And he’s determined to be a better teacher himself. He knows that with just a little more training, he could make a big difference.
When UNICEF saw the challenges faced by rural schools in the Amazon Basin, they worked with partners to set up EducAmazônia. It’s a special programme to raise the quality of education in the most isolated areas, helping children – and teachers – get the most out of the school day. Like giving Eddir better training. Providing transport so kids can get to school more easily. And finding new resources, so lessons are worth travelling for.
Driving the message home
EducAmazônia has also helped local communities see the importance of education. That’s already making a big difference here in Para. “When the parents don’t care about school, it’s easy for the children not to care either,” explains Eddir. “That made my job very hard.” But through the EducAmazônia project, parents have become much more involved in the school. “Now they understand why going to school every day – not just once in a while – can improve their children’s future” explains Eddir. And smiles.
Changes like these are what our Learning for Tomorrow initiative is all about. It’s our long-term commitment, in partnership with UNICEF, to help give children access to the quality education they deserve. In 2015, we’re helping 10 million children in Brazil, Viet Nam, and India.