It is a very humbling process to enter into someone elses world, hear about their unimaginable struggles, their seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and have them look at you and say, "How do we teach these students who carry the weight of this world?" And that is just the incredibly humbling moment, they are looking to us to give them strategies for helping their students and they are so willing to receive. This has been my experience teaching the teachers of the orpanages we are working with.
We have worked with three different organizations so far and a total of four schools. One of the most rewarding experiences we had was sitting down with the headmaster, Xristin, of one of these schools. We gave her the Ugandan curriculum guides and she lit up saying, "We have been singing for these!" We then went through the curriculum with her and explained that she could lead workshops for her teachers just as we had. She could choose a topic that she felt they needed help with and present the information to them in a workshop. When we started explaining this it was obvious by her eyebrow movement that this was a very new idea.
I felt nervous that she might reject the idea while she briefly hesitated to respond. Then, as if a current of energy started from her toes and came up through her body she looked at us with a grin and said emphatically, "I can do this!" She asked me how often we have workshops in the States and I told her about once a month. She chuckled, a chuckle of joy and empowerment and said, "I will give them twice a month. We need lots of work."Xristin went on to explain that we had brought a new way of teaching. A way that is more fun for the students and for the teachers. She insisted that they had been so bored in the way they teach now.
I was blown away by the teachers willingness to try new things. We had them clapping and singing songs, standing on chairs and discussing if equal is always fair in education.
There are many things these teachers are already doing that I can learn from. Many of them are not getting paid for any of their work because and they still go to school every day trying to reach these children. Many of them demonstate a deep concern for the students they teach, a concern not present in many of teachers I have worked with in the states, a concern that ran much deeper then I could undertand because many of these teachers came from the same conditions that their students are experiencing.
Posted by Erin in Uganda