Matthew is a teacher - or will be one day - an excellent, caring, imaginative, professionally minded teacher. At the moment he is assigned by the Nigerian Youth Service Corps to volunteering in a secondary school where my job is to support him and others in the classroom and through putting on workshop/training sessions.
He is one of the few teachers I have witnessed out here who can control a class - a large class of teenagers, through the power of his own personality and his sense of humour. He is respectful of his pupils, interested in them and understanding of their problems - and the pupils respect him for being so.
For some time I have been trying to arrange for Matthew to do some training as a teacher in the UK - at my former school in Liverpool. They ahve offered to take him in for a few weeks anf give him a placement in the English department so he can see and experience best practice in an excellent school. He will return to Nigeria energised and ful of endeavour. He will face the same frustrations but will be better equipped to initiate alternative strategies for not just coping, but for instigating change. He will have an influence on the main body of the teaching staff and the other schools in their cluster. He will change attitudes and enthse new volunteers and those doing their teaching practice; in effect Matthew will be spreading the VSO gospel of sustainability, sharing lives and skills.
The current economic climate in the UK has led to an evaporation of the funding for this sort of venture and I so much want this to happen for Matthew.
If anybody has or knows of any contacts inside or outside Nigeria who may be willing to help or sponsor Matthew's visit , please let me know. We are looking at a ballpark figure of about 5,000 pounds for a two month stay, hopefully starting in September.
Here's hoping and thank you!