Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From the Rookie (Karen Darner)

It’s been over a week since we finished the formal training with teachers. Last week Emmalee and Karen observed teachers in their classrooms with students, and talked with them about some possible strategies to use. It was quite a learning experience for them, and even more for us.

We saw:
Mr. Johnson, economics teacher of seniors, was probing his students with open-ended questions, and it was a great review.
Mr. Aachampong, a 9th grade geography teacher, kept digging until the students gave him a very sophisticated definition of latitude and longitude (including similarities and differences, and their purposes), after initially saying “That was something you said when you were 5 years old. Now you are bigger and you eat more, and you need to give us more.”
Mrs. Banks, the vice-principal and biology teacher, who labeled and preserved numerous oceanic specimens she and others collected late one night. They’re all set for the next lab.
Mrs. Robinson, our fantastic chef for dinner daily, who taught us all about the delectable mixture of spices and fresh food that gave us a true taste of Liberia. Voila! She is their role-model for teaching several courses for boys and girls in home economics.
Miss Cleo Allison, a 3rd grade teacher, who challenged her students with a variety of strategies to give them content area that elicited some higher level thinking skills. She also utilized resources she had made in a recent phonics workshop. Her enthusiasm and humor were infectious – with us and with her students. She needs to be seen by more of her peers!
Mr. Sango, the arts and crafts teacher who doubles as a P.E. teacher with the little ones, who had 25 kindergartners in the palm of his hand as he taught them how to decorate their room with slips of paper made into a chain.
Mrs. Harvey, the nursery teacher with a smile that goes a mile, who is patient and encouraging with 2-3 year olds, and sings, dances, and hugs when one accomplishes a new and formerly difficult task. You should see her coordinate actions of “Row, row, row your boat” with those little ones.
And Mr. Benson, the reflexive pronoun specialist with 5th/6th graders, who was artful when he used a rubber band to illustrate perfectly.
Keep in mind, in each of these teachers’ classrooms, there are at least 25 and maybe 72 students, and learning was taking place. We reminded them during the workshop of Teacher Astronaut Christa McAuliffe’s quote – “I touch the future. I teach.” They most certainly do.

Get ready, World! Liberia is working to lead Africa, with Lott Carey School out in front of the parade.

During the past almost three weeks, we have experienced a home away from home. The amazing staffs of Lott Carey Mission School, Zion Praise Academy (Christian Relief Ministry Orphanage), and Alfred and Agnes Memorial Orphanage Mission School (AAMOM) have participated in our teacher training workshop, and we have observed them with their children in their classrooms. Amazing grace! Inspired teaching! Adorable children with a yearn to learn, and gleaming smiles that make you want to stay! Thank you to all.

We are grateful to their curriculum supervisor Mrs. Rosa Allen. She has quite a responsibility to continue the training with our cadre of Trainers of Teachers, and professional development plan developed for raising the standard for teachers. We give our heartfelt thank you of a lifetime to our daily host and caretaker extraordinaire, Lott Carey’s superintendent Rev. Emile Sam-Peal. He is Liberia’s best kept secret, and LOEP is the beneficiary!

See you all at home soon. We loved it here!

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