Monrovia – Lovetta David, like all Bridge PSL Area School Supervisors, trains teachers across a number of schools in and near Monrovia. As an Area School Supervisor, she plays an important role in upskilling and supporting public primary teachers across Liberia. She is just one of the Bridge Learning and Development Officers, who build up teachers, engage parents, protect students, and work with Vice Principals for Instruction and principals on improving school management and quality of teaching and learning.
I used to teach in a government-run school, then a Bridge PSL school, and now I am a Bridge PSL Area Supervisor. As Area Supervisor I monitor schools and coach teachers and school administrators. I make sure teachers are in the classroom, they are delivering the right lessons, and they are using the Bridge model. I also provide support, encouragement, and guidance.
On a school visit, I assess a teacher very closely and then give them feedback, just the same as the training we do before the school year. Then I watch the teacher again to see if they have improved. For example, if I was monitoring a teacher and notice that he or she is not fully using the signals to let pupils answer questions or continuing with a lesson too quickly, I tell him or her to use the signals and to pause and wait for children to respond to questions. Signals are important because it helps the children to learn, if a teacher isn’t using them then they aren’t teaching the best lesson possible.
When I visit a school, if there is a child absent for two or more days I contact the parents by phone or I visit their house. I find out why the child is not in school. If the child is not sick or something serious I tell the parent the importance of the child being in school every day. Before PSL if children didn’t turn up to school then no one went looking for them, but part of caring for our pupils is making sure they are in school.
Some parents are happy to express how their children are learning in the school. Before Bridge PSL nobody would contact parents to ask why a child was absent. I talk to parents about how they can help improve learning and behaviors because a school is only as strong as the community that supports it. If a parent is fully involved and encouraging children in their education then they do better. It is the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child.
Sometimes children would get too much beating, before Bridge, but now I am showing teachers and parents how to treat children with more respect. Children learn better if they aren’t afraid of their teacher, they are more confident and try without being frightened of making a mistake. Teachers learn about Bridge’s No Corporal Punishment policy when they are in training and we remind them about the importance of this policy on learning. It works well as the teachers are glad to get feedback as it helps them to learn from their mistakes.
I visit two schools every day and oversee nine schools. So I look after a lot of teachers, some in Monrovia and some in the next county. This is exactly what other Area School Supervisors are doing across our 68 schools.
If I see an issue I set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) objectives with the principal. Usually, we choose the top 5 issues in a school. For example, in one school there was not enough drinking water for everybody and never had been. I helped resolve that issue by meeting with parents and teachers and together we found a way to provide fresh water and a new water tank for the school.
Bridge PSL is better than what we used to have as it helps students learn. Teachers are always engaging pupils and teaching. There was less teaching before Bridge started; teachers were left to struggle and children were not encouraged. I remember when I was a teacher in a regular government school.
I feel so proud because I am a teacher trainer. My friends know that I have done really well and have an important job.