In fair weather, Cidalia teaches fifth grade in a sandy corner of the schoolyard of public school “Escola Primaria 5 de Fevereiro” on the outskirts of the borough of Machava, Mozambique.
Her pupils sit on the ground beneath a tattered green tarp, their bodies barely shielded from the hot Mozambiquean sun. A teacher’s desk is positioned at the front of the “classroom” and a small chalkboard hangs alongside from the branch of a eucalyptus tree. In other corners of the schoolyard similar makeshift classes have been devised. The scene is a testament to the educational situation in Mozambique, where children are hungry to learn but where there is only the barest of means.
“When it rains, I share a classroom in the school,” says Cidalia, referring to the cement-brick building at the center of the yard. “It is of course very crowded and more difficult to have lessons inside,” she explains.
Whatever she may lack in classroom resources, Cidalia more than makes up for with enthusiasm and intelligence. Undaunted by her conditions, Cidalia teaches a typical fifth grade curriculum that includes social science, mathematics, Portuguese, and biology, tailoring her teaching to the needs and abilities of her students. Seeing how much the children benefit from the lessons is what drives her to continually do her best on that dusty lot.
A friend attending an ADPP teacher-training college had convinced Cidalia to join her in becoming a teacher. She completed her teaching qualification at the ADPP Gaza teacher-training college and then continued on to One World University, where she earned a baccalaureate in education. The ADPP programs helped motivate her and provided her with the pedagogical methods that she relies on everyday.
Now a teacher for six years in Machava, Cidalia is pleased when former students pay her a visit. Some are in secondary school and have dreams of being teachers themselves. Though she treats all students equally, Cidalia is aware that she is a role model for young girls. She hopes that someday one of them will become prime minister. “Maybe she will stop by and visit me,” she quips with a smile.