Riviera High School is increasingly becoming a home to the learner. I mean a place where the learner feels cared for and supported or just that-at home. The healthy and free interactions between the teachers and the students make it possible for the learners to engage their teachers in productive question/answer sessions. I sometimes get bogged down with work and wish for a little breather. How nice it feels when a learner walks in through one of the doors (my office has two doors) and say “Sir, I just came by to find out how you are doing” or “Sir, it is lunch time please” They may not be aware but this often gives me the much needed breather. I keep thanking God for each one of them. A match between the staff and the learners, aerobics, debate, church service and fellowships are some of the regular activities that help cement the bond between the teachers and the learners. This kind of environment relaxes the mind of the learner thereby providing more room in the brain for more knowledge.
The other feature that defines Riviera is the mentorship program. From the day it was rolled out (about a fortnight ago) the impact has been immense and rapid. Each learner has a mentor who in effect is a guide, a helper, a friend, a parent, a counselor, an advisor besides being a teacher. In our case, the majority of the learners are adolescents-rule breakers, experimenters with life, energy bundles and of course status seekers. A way must be found to mitigate these tendencies for balanced growth and that is the responsibility of the teacher and the parent. We need to know and appreciate what our child is surrounded by-drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, sex, violence and enormous peer pressure. That is the world of our child, a world they take for granted and which totally different from our world. This calls for sobriety and understanding on our part as guides. We must be closer to them, identify their individual needs and as much as possible avoid a combative approach in addressing these problems. That is the hallmark of this mentorship program as constituted in our school.
It is imperative to mention here that discipline and its management can affect learning outcomes grossly. The discipline of a child is determined by so many factors, the major ones being environment, family, friends and peer pressure. The question is; are we, as teachers or parents, role models to the children? If not, do we endeavor to find out who is? What about their friends, who are they? What do they do together? These are pertinent questions that must be asked and satisfactory answers sought. As parents or teachers we are not running for an office and therefore we are not seeking the learners’ votes. We must confront them with the truth and hard facts as we know them in life. To that extent we only need their cooperation and them our understanding.
Mr. Boniface Onyango