At Zindagi Trust we believe the answer to Pakistan's education problem lies in reforming government schools. We do this by transforming adopted government schools and advocating the government to replicate our success across their schools. We work on developing the infrastructure, administration and facilities at the school but at the end of the day only a teacher can bring a classroom alive. Our work with teachers therefore is the most important aspect of our reform model. Instead of relying on a temporary and unscalable solution like replacing non-performing government teachers with private teachers, we believe strongly in investing in the capacity and skill development of the existing teachers.
Working professional development of government teachers is challenging - it means changing mindsets, searching for motivation, improving teaching pedagogies and ensuring accurate content knowledge. For this purpose Zindagi Trust has established dedicated Professional Development (PD) teams at both SMB Fatima Jinnah Government School and Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government School. These teams work with the teachers full-time and provide constant support, motivation and monitoring.
The work of our PD team is very challenging since it requires building positive working relationships with government teachers without making them feel threatened about their existing positions. Our team has qualified people who are not only subject specialists and have complete mastery over their own fields, but also have amazing people skills.
We believe that all our PD team members are no less than everyday heroes who are making a long-term impact through their determination and zeal to make better learning possible at our government schools. Sana Zaidi is one such hero who heads the team at one of our campuses.
Message from Sana - Head of Professional Development, Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government School
"In July 2016, I walked into Khatoon-e-Pakistan School as a volunteer for a five day teacher training workshop. As I learned more about Zindagi Trust's mission to reform the school my association with the team grew and just a month later, I joined the school in the role of Head of Professional Development.
Beginning the daunting task of overhauling teacher capacity at a big government school was not easy - the role demanded that I bring a paradigm shift which would enable the teachers and students to acknowledge the need for a change in learning. I took a multi-pronged approach to teacher development using a variety of strategies like classroom observations, learning circles, English language coaching sessions, small focused group trainings, model classes etc. I can already see the silver lining as these strategies have started to show results! One of my most cherished moments was a comment by a teacher at the end of a learning circle: "Aisa lagta hai pehlay hum sochtay nahi thay, laikin ab sochnay lagay hain!’ (It seems like we did not think before but now we have started to think)"
This is just the beginning for the Professional Development department at the school - there are many more challenges and a lot more to achieve! The team has grown this year with subject in-charges in Maths, Science, English and Urdu having joined. This has given another dimension to my role, where I facilitate the trained professionals and thus form a learning community which we we hope would serve as a catalyst to impact teaching and learning at the school.
I believe that if you want to bring CHANGE, you must BE the agent of change yourself. I feel fortunate to join the platform of Zindagi Trust and play my humble role to be the agent of change in school reform."
Please support our work in strengthening the capacity of our teachers to bring their classrooms alive by making a donation to our Professional Development team.