Siobhan McCaffrey

Learning Some of What I Don’t Know

By Siobhan McCaffrey

Pakistan Misyon Article
With some of the teachers from St Paul's High School in Greentown

Some Challenges and Possibilities in Collaborating with Teachers in Schools in Lahore, Pakistan, from the brief experience of a Northern Irish Primary School Teacher. The author wrote this article during her second visit to Pakistan. Her first visit, nearly a year earlier, was to visit the grave of her Columban uncle, Fr Pat McCaffrey. We published her account of that visit, Following in Father Pat’s footsteps in November-December 2012.

Pakistan Misyon Article
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Lahore

My uncle, Fr Pat McCaffrey, a Columban missionary, died suddenly in Pakistan in May 2010. Along with my brother Niall, I came to Pakistan the following Christmas to visit his grave. I decided to return again in November 2011, so this is my second visit. This time, even though I speak no Urdu, I wanted to be more included in daily life so looked for the opportunity to work with teachers and children in local schools in a Columban parish in Lahore. I have been working in the schools for just over three weeks and the following attempts to describe and evaluate this experience.

I approached the principal of one of the parish schools and asked her how I might contribute. She asked me to explain the basics of English grammar to the teachers, and also work with some of the older classes in the school. So, I spent the first week preparing a one-day seminar on the topic for 30 teachers.

I had not prepared resources or equipment so initially presumed I would have to do everything with blackboard and chalk. However I discovered the school had a data projector and I was able to use the internet connection in the Columban house to download resources. The topic of the seminar was basic grammar, handwriting and phonics. In Ireland I only teach up to eight-year-olds so felt a little out of my depth preparing to work with older students, much less with teachers.