Isooba James is an agriculture teacher at Iganga Secondary School who has been involved with Field of Hope for over three years. James said before his involvement with Field of Hope, he used traditional teaching methods.
However, Field of Hope’s teacher trainings showed him methodologies that improved his teaching quality – positively effecting his students. “Before Field of Hope came in, I was still a teacher but my methodology of handling the content was the conventional way of teaching (typically rote memorization),” James said. He continued to say, “Field of Hope helped me to change from that conventional way of teaching to methodologies that interest and inspire students.” James’ teaching repertoire expanded with the tools Field of Hope has provided. He said: “Some examples are the interest approach, group working method, and project-based teaching. All of these are engaging methods to use as I handle agriculture as a subject. They are very interesting and will inspire students to pay attention, and have real-life, hands-on experience.” Hands-on teaching methods and providing experiential learning is vital to students who will have a career in agriculture, a very hands-on profession.
Not only has FOH aided James through teaching methodologies to improve his classroom, he said it aided his career advancement and development through our teacher trainings. “I learned that agriculture is a business and therefore I have come up with many projects as myself, and a network of friends because we were brought together by Field of Hope. So, I have a very wide network to benchmark with, which I didn’t have before,” James said. James has attended several in-person and online trainings provided by FOH. James explained how Field of Hope continues to positively affect his teaching, students, and school’s ability to provide for its students through its curriculum, and grants that funded a poultry operation. “Field of Hope provided us with teacher’s guides and awarded us an Inspiring Students in Agriculture Grant in 2019. Through this grant we invested it in poultry project with the students. We took the students through the procedures, and broiler project management.” The impact of this project broadens, as James explained, “many of these students are having small projects back at their parents’ homes.” These “small home projects” have been especially influential during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns.
James works to battle the notion that agriculture is an “unideal profession,” stating, “we are trying to change this kind of thinking.” Additionally, James notes the importance of supporting young women in agriculture through their education. “I see many girls taking up agriculture more than ever in the last four years – things have changed, and many girls are taking agriculture as a subject and later studying at university to do agriculture.” A wonderful example of the teachers we work with, James is a supporter of our mission, and is eager to encourage more teachers to join Field of Hope.
“I want to encourage Field of Hope to continue with this program of mentoring teachers and the youth. Let’s go out and reach out to many teachers and schools so that this network increases, it is going to be a very good thing as a country in Uganda, thank you,” James said.