Even before she considered the idea of becoming a teacher, Justina Entsua Mensah recalls her admiration for her pre-technical skills teacher who was a woman. It was her first time ever seeing a woman teach that subject and she admired the way her teacher carried herself and took up the challenge of teaching a subject that was mainly taught by men. This is what inspired her to study Agricultural Science in Senior High School.
Today, Mrs. Mensah is married and a mother of one, and has found her calling as a STEM educator while taking up further studies at the University of Education. She has been teaching for six years now and her love for the job keeps growing as the years go by. She teaches about one hundred and eighty students at St. Monica’s girls JHS.
Mrs. Mensah saw the advert of the JUNEOS Challenge on Joy Prime TV. Not long after that, the headmistress of her school called her to talk about it and they made the decision to be a part of the challenge. With the idea of taking up a project that will make the world a better place, Mrs. Mensah and her students worked on a prototype to eliminate selected harmful chemicals that are released into the atmosphere due to industrialization.
In such a short time, she says, the challenge has had a huge impact on her and has exposed her to many things. A major take home message for her concerns practical education in STEM, its importance and how it helps students be more confident, careful and independent when studying or trying to solve a problem. She is confident that her students will do well when the results of the challenge came out but she is more happy with the long term effect the experience has had on her students.
Mrs. Mensah suggests that the JUNEOS Challenge should target more schools, especially in remote areas where access to materials is low, as is exposure to practical work. Mrs. Mensah is also a member of GAST and ITEK Global, groups that she joined that help her learn new ways of teaching STEM. ITEK Global continues to have an impact on her life. It is also where she got exposed to more ways of teaching STEM.
In the next five to ten years, Mrs. Mensah hopes to be teaching Science at a higher level. She looks up to people like Kwame Nkrumah who continues to have a lasting effect on people and their society long after their existence. During her leisure time, she enjoys watching action movies and wrestling matches.
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Article by Elizabeth Johnson.
Elizabeth Johnson works as a researcher and project manager with Dr Monk and volunteers the rest of her time with the Writers Project of Ghana where she takes up various roles such as radio show production, social media management and administrator for their annual literary festival. She is a published writer who writes both fiction and non fiction and has won awards for her work.