My name is Vidal Ebenezer Olabisi Spaine. I was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone (a country located in west Africa between Liberia to the south and Guinea to the north.) I have a son Eustace.
I received my elementary and high school education in Freetown. Upon completion, I received a scholarship to pursue further studies in the former Soviet Union. There I spent 6 years, and received an equivalent of a Master’s Degree, in Agricultural Economics.
I continued my education in the United States entering Concordia University to pursue a graduate course in Academic Administration. Upon completion, I taught 9th and 12th grade math and economics at South Bay Lutheran High School, and continued my teaching career at Faith Lutheran Elementary School. There I taught 6th through 8th grade math and social studies.
My years of experience have also taught me to carefully plan and teach the basic procedures for living and learning in the classroom. This enhances the teacher’s ability to collect and correct homework, regroup students, give directions, distribute materials, collect lunch money, and deal with disruptions, while at the same time making a mental note to check why one of the students is so tired.
Faith Lutheran School is located in the inner city of Los Angeles and most of our students came from the surrounding community. The challenges faced within this community are much greater than anywhere else. On a regular basis I provided counseling and advice to students whose parents were going through divorce, who were living in abusive foster homes, or living in drug infested neighborhoods. Most came from single-parent families. The problems some my students faced were just too overwhelming.
During my first year of teaching at this school, there was no organized day care system. I took up the responsibility to develop an after school program for the students. I recruited volunteers to help with tutoring, dancing, and music lessons and also started a sign language class. This eventually was quite a success.
Because of the influence of violence and gang activities, I started a Cub Scout program recruiting boys from our school and the surrounding neighborhood. This group grew from 6 to 14 boys and was considered a success because scouting is not a popular activity in the inner city.
My biggest influence in the classroom was the opportunity to share with my students my diverse background, beliefs, and values I was taught regarding education. For the most part, I was able to satisfy their curiosity and provide answers to their many questions.
I very much miss being in the classroom and look forward to completing the requirements for my Iowa teaching credentials.
I joined Trinity Lutheran Church here, because of their multi-racial, multi-ethnic outreach especially to the African peoples.