Dignitas Staff Profile: Samantha Nyabola
We have a fantastic team at Dignitas and we would love to introduce you to each member over the coming months.
Today, we interview Samantha Nyabola about her role at Dignitas. A teacher for over six years, Samantha brings a wealth of classroom experience to her new role as a coach supporting teachers. Welcome, Samantha!
What is your role on the team? I am an Instructional Coach.
How long have you been working at Dignitas? Since February 2016
What kind of activities does your role involve? Ensuring high-quality instruction in classrooms through modeling, co-planning, co-teaching, and providing feedback to teachers with the aim of improving instructional quality across all subject areas.
I also play key roles in organizing and facilitating the Leadership Training Institute, Professional Development Workshops and in supporting teacher-to-teacher engagement through Professional Learning Communities.
“At that moment I saw how important my role is as a coach and how much difference I can create in the quality of education the students receive by supporting teachers.”
What brought you to Dignitas?
After 6 years of classroom teaching, I felt I needed a new challenge to help me grow. I quit my job and concentrated with my school work as I sought for another employment opportunity. I was attracted to Dignitas’ job advertisement by the fact that it partners with schools in the informal settlements. I had a desire to work with girls from these areas but I did not know how. Even though I do not work with the girls directly in my role, by supporting their teachers they get to benefit.
Tell us about coaching!
During one of our Leadership Institutes, I had a chance to not only facilitate the sessions but to also learn. The sessions were really informative and empowering. After the workshops, I thought about the excellent teacher I would have become if I got all that information while training as a teacher or practicing and also how much more my students would have benefitted from this knowledge.
Taking it further, I thought about the teachers at our partner schools who are not trained and are to provide quality education to the students, their students, whose parents have no money to take them to government (public) schools or better private schools – and yet they have a desire to succeed and break from the poverty line for their family. At that moment I saw how important my role is as a coach and how much difference I can create in the quality of education the students receive by supporting teachers.
Do you have a favorite coaching moment?
I was observing a teacher who teaches young children. During my first visit I had suggested a bunch of things that she needed to improve on. She did not appear pleased with all the suggestions and she unwillingly wrote them down. During this second visit, I noted slight improvement in a few things while others none at all. I knew this is going to be a difficult conversation if I did not prepare well. At that moment I decided to focus and coach her strengths, then use those strengths to help her grow in other areas.
While debriefing, I affirmed the things she did well, and brought to her attention those she had improved in and was not aware of. For the first time, I saw her smile. She brightened up and reflected on how to make things in her class better. By the end of the coaching conversation she decided (not me) on what the goals for her next steps will be. I felt very supportive and happy with the direction I took with this conversation.
What are you doing when not coaching teachers through Dignitas?
When not working and not at school, I enjoy baby-sitting my 10-month-old niece, cooking, and watching movies.