As an educator for the past 20 years, I have probably spent over 30,000 hours in classrooms…teaching, observing, training. I have sat in workshops learning about the “latest initiatives and how to implement them with fidelity and a high degree of rigor.” (Any of my fellow teacher pals reading this, know what I am talking about!) I am a natural teacher-geek that still gets pretty excited about creative strategies and techniques to increase student engagement. And yet I can get caught up in the negativity that often occurs in teacher lounges and Friday eve happy hours…frustrated with the politics of it all. Whining with my colleagues about what I think I need…or wish I had…or all of things that seem too difficult to solve…
So today, as we toured classrooms in Williamson and Luly, I am humbled. I saw patient, positive teachers with smiles and children eager to learn. We were welcomed in their spaces to hear singing and greet the students. I am certain the teachers must walk a distance in the hot sun to arrive each day. They are expected to wear uniforms and work in conditions that are meagerly supplied. There are classrooms supporting two classes…open areas for multiple classrooms. Technology is not available…and the seating is limited. And I am pretty sure that the pay is not really that great.
As I met with teachers in our primary classes yesterday to discuss the possibility of closing down the school due to lack of funding, they pleaded their cause that we must go on…”our children are learning!” The reading has improved and the students can now have conversations about what they read. Mme. Roselaure and Mme. Alta Gracia requested another teacher seminar-this next one about math or science.
I feel so encouraged…and so inspired.
Take a look…
Following our time visiting classrooms, we treated the boys from the orphanage to a fabulous field trip to the beach!
p.s. If education administration in the US is looking for ways to save a few bucks on the cost of transportation, it may be an option to consider additional seating on TOP of the bus!