Soon after I arrived in Matènwa in July, I had an interesting conversation with a teacher who was very surprised by how fast I could type. He asked if I could teach him how to type quickly like that. I soon learned that no one on the school staff had ever had the opportunity to learn how to touch-type. Everyone typed slowly and carefully, searching for each letter. For teachers, creating exams and other materials for students was a long and laborious process. Over the next few weeks and months, many more teachers asked me for a typing class.
I didn’t know how to teach touch-typing, but I did some research and quickly found some useful sources and exercises. Last Friday, I asked teachers who were interested in learning to type to sign up for one of two groups. Each group will meet once a week for 6 to 10 weeks, depending on how fast we get through the material. 31 teachers and other staff members signed up for the class.
This Monday evening, the first group met for the first time. When I told the teachers that the first rule of our typing class was never to look at the keyboard again, a wave of nervous laughter spread through the room. We went over finger and hand positions for touch-typing and began with an exercise using “j,” “k,” and the space bar. One teacher, touch-typing “jjj jjj jjj” successfully for the first time, exclaimed “Yes! I’m going to be able to do this!”
At the end of the class, I passed out paper “keyboards” so that teachers could practice their keystrokes even when they didn’t have access to a computer. The next morning, on my way to school, I met LKM’s guard, who had participated in the typing class. He told me, “The typing class was really great yesterday! I was practicing all night on my paper keyboard!”
Later in the day, during the secondary-school recess, I found three or four secondary teachers in the computer lab—all typing their “jjj kkk jkj” exercises. I’m very happy about this typing class and the teachers’ excitement about it.