Rachel Ngongola’s second grade class at the Tico Community School is learning to count multiples of 10 on a Wednesday morning in late July. The class of 30 is divided into three groups: one counts clusters of plastic bottle caps, one scribbles addition problems into lined paper notebooks and a third sprawls across the floor, huddled in groups of two around white tablet computers.
Ngongola controls the classroom with ease. You won’t catch her shushing her students, or reminding them to focus on the lesson. While other Tico teachers describe Ngongola — known to her students as Teacher Rachel — as an exceptional educator, she hasn’t always engaged her students with such ease. Her classroom’s cool composure arrived with the five white ZEduPad tablets one year earlier, when Tico became one of seven Lusaka schools to pilot the iSchool curriculum.