Two workshops are now completed, and Sue and I believe that we have learned as much as the teachers participating in our workshops—which we hoped for from the beginning. The teachers’ lessons are about teaching vocabulary, developing writing lessons, and the use of graphic organizers. Sue and my lessons are about education in Kenya. One of our workshop participants has 70 eighth graders in her classroom, and teachers tell of having one textbook for every five students. Those are the extremes, but nevertheless, even in better conditions things are far from ideal in Kenyan classrooms.
Perhaps you wonder how Sue and I can bridge our American instructional strategies to be appropriate for Kenyan students. We are acutely aware that we have not faced their challenges, yet the common threads that bind us together are the desire for students’ success and the love of teaching. We admire the teachers’ willingness to try the new instructional strategies. They do so with good humor and ask thoughtful questions as they think of the ways they will apply what they are learning to their own classrooms.
In a workshop evaluation, one teacher wrote that the workshop taught her things to help her enjoy teaching—“to change her attitude” she wrote. Sue and I hope that what we have delivered are some ideas that will make teaching, even with all the challenges, more enjoyable for our Kenyan colleagues. Joy is what the workshop participants gave us, and as always, we are deeply grateful for the opportunity to experience Kenya through relationships with others.
We are off to Eldoret where we will meet more teachers. All is well.
What more can I say? All we can do is support their efforts in order to educate the students in Kenya. Theirs is not an easy business and we certainly want to help them in any way that we can.