Monday, October 17, 2011

They Need a Bigger Boat!

From the beginning of our teacher training efforts, it was always the main goal of LOEP to assist our colleagues in developing their own professional development program.  We believe in the old adage, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime". We all recognized the value of helping to build a program that Liberian teachers could sustain on their own, conducting their own workshops, their own trainings and sharing their new methods and techniques with other teachers in Liberia.  Recent reports from Liberia show how far we have all come to reaching that goal.
Mr. Gbah's Report:
Emmanuel Gbah is a full-time teacher at CRM orphan school where he teachers fifth grade.  He is the married father of three girls who attend school (in a nation where less than half of all girls attend school), he is a deacon in his church, a full-time student at the University of Liberia and three nights a week he teachers adult literacy in a little school operated by his church.  He also mentors untrained, unpaid teachers in that same school, helping them develop classroom skills and techniques he has learned in the LOEP workshops.  Recently Mr. Gbah made the arduous journey to his rural home village for a rare visit with his family.  Such visits are far and few between for Liberians and it had been years since Mr. Gbah had seen his "little brothers".  The visit was a joyous occasion and a time for him to share with his family details of his life in the city of Monrovia.  He happily reports, "God could have it for me I was able to travel with some of my teaching materials" from LOEP workshops in the LOEP "teacher bag".  When he arrived in the village word of his visit and his life as a teacher in Monrovia spread.  He was asked to conduct a teacher training for teachers in the village school.  As he recounts, " this was a huge challenge for me ... because I was alone without consultant,but I accepted the challenge," and his detailed report on the workshop content is a most touching account of his experience. Despite his reservations and initial lack of confidence, he conducted a successful training and highlighted the most important concepts of, a) inclusiveness, b)effective teaching methods to replace harsh beatings and discipline, and c) helping children understand and process the information they are taught.  He wrote, “I firmly believe that the act of conducting the workshop was buttressing the dream of LOEP….by the help of God I was able to conduct the workshop ... and it was appreciated by the school administration.  I ... extend my thanks and appreciation to the LOEP team for their level of cooperation and for the knowledge that they continue to impact onto us teachers of Liberia".
Mr. Gbah's reference to the LOEP "team" includes all of those friends here in the US who support LOEP's teacher training and shipments of instructional materials, books and school supplies.  Mr. Gbah and his colleagues who have taken LOEP workshops know that there are hundreds of people here in the US they have never met who make the LOEP workshops possible. 

One by one our Liberian colleagues are "learning to fish" - they are going to need a bigger boat.  Please continue supporting LOEP teachers reaching their goals!

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