David Ouma Okombo is a School Leader at Bridge Mwimuto in Kiambu County, Kenya. He’s extremely proud of being appointed as a School Leader after three years of teaching at Bridge and watching the children in his classroom flourish.
David understands the transient lifestyle of the families that come to his school because his childhood was very similar. As the son of a security guard, his family moved around frequently when he was a child in search of work; living in Thika, Naivasha and Nakuru before he moved to Kiambu which is about 12 km (7 miles) northwest of Nairobi.
He says: “Being a Bridge teacher makes me feel proud and dedicated to my profession. I always wanted to be the best and make my pupils happy. If you teach at Bridge, you will definitely feel that enthusiasm.” He believes; “The training you get is so great and so helpful, it equips you with basic teaching skills and gives you the confidence to deliver lessons.”
Bridge schools use teacher guides which contain high-quality lessons plans, which David says means: “I learn a lot about technology enabled teaching through using the guide and it puts child-centred learning at the heart of my approach.” He adds: “I like that the content to deliver is always ready for any teacher, making it quicker to prepare for lessons compared to other schools where you always have to make your own schemes of work and lesson plans and don’t have enough time to focus on the children. No lesson goes untaught at Bridge. I have heard that other schools envy our guides; it makes me proud.”
As a proud teacher who is largely motivated by the happiness of his pupils when asked to think about Bridge compared to other schools David says: “Bridge pupils mastery and understanding is fast and effective, and their discipline is high and also worthy of praise. The care that they receive is great and very different to other places which are not focused on learning outcomes. At Bridge there is no wasted time, we are able to maximise the time spent learning.”
As in all schools a child’s ability to succeed in school is largely determined by the support and commitment of those at home. As such, an important feature of his role as School Leader is to help his teachers work with parents in the community to understand the importance of education and the best way to help their children. There have been some challenges, he says: “At first, parents in the community were negative about the benefits of schooling but that soon changed when they heard about Bridge’s success. Parents understand that educating your child is the best investment for the future, with constant returns and that if there is no education, there is no success.”
He finished with a smile, saying: “If only all parents knew about the value of the education we provide at Bridge – they would be rushing to be with us.”