English all the time

HER dream was to become a qualified dentist after finishing high school but that aspiration was to take a different turn for Adi Saurara Lecia. The Muana, Nakelo native would find herself hundreds of miles from her home to the hills of Burenitu in Ra, in the west of Fiji.

We found the 41-year-old at a nursery school as she busily went about teaching the youngsters of the village.

“I love this work, I can’t complain much because it has become a job that I’ve fallen in love with,” she said with a smile.

After she met and married her husband who’s from Bure­ni­tu, the pre-school teacher has learned to adjust to life over there.

Apart from teaching, she also is a part-time market vendor selling produce from their farm. But this has not dampened her enthusiasm to continue her education.

“My husband has been supportive from the get go,” she says. “Right now I’m pursuing my degree in early childhood education through long distance and flexible learning and my husband has been by my side throughout. He wants me to get a better qualification so we can improve our source of income.”

For an iTaukei school in the rural area, it was interesting to see the activities undertaken by the kindy students organised primarily by Adi Saurara.

Her enthusiasm is infectious as she talks only in English to the children.

“You know with us rural village schools, we face challenges with educational resources so I make a point to use what we have at our disposal by improvising,” she said with another smile.

These improvisations include nature walks, where she takes the children out to their farms or to the forest nearby where they learn types of soils and organisms as well as learning how to swim in the river and learning traditional chants or meke (traditional dances) and rhymes.

“I make it a point for my students to learn about different cultures and languages as well. They may be small but their minds are inquisitive, they absorb what you teach them.

“When we have Diwali or other religious events, the students actually come in that cultural clothing and we learn about Diwali and it’s religious significance to the Hindus.

“I want them to respect and learn about other cultures. It’s important as you are laying a great foundation for them.

“I endeavour to only speak English to them so that when they move on to primary school, at least they are adept at speaking it and are not left behind.”

This is her sixth year of teaching at the pre-school. Adi Saurara says she hopes to better her qualification so she can contribute more in her field of work.

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