This has been an enriching and stretching week as Tracy, Lindsay, and I have had enjoyed the privilege of training Haitian teachers. Lindsay and Tracy shared Classroom Management Skills with the teachers who teach Kindergarten through Grade 2 emphasizing the importance of building rapport with students in a positive nurturing learning environment. Among this group of teachers were young women who are training to be teachers, for whom this training will prove beneficial as they set up their own classrooms in the future.
Throughout the week, I worked with the teachers who teach students from Grade 3 and up. After an initial discussion on “What is Learning?” and the goals of learning, we explored the topic of “Empowering Writers through Teacher Modeling and Writing Workshop.” Writing is a powerful form of communication. What a community building experience it was for these precious Haitian teachers to write of their own dreams and longings! We explored together best writing practices, the structure of a Writing Workshop, and the nonfiction genres of memoir and essay writing, in order for students to be empowered as writers as they develop effective writing skills.
The outstanding characteristic of my Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ is their joy. There were some among us who had lost family members and friends in the earthquake. Yet despite what they have suffered, joy shines in their faces as they enjoy one another. We began each training day with singing worship songs in French. Throughout the sessions, uproarious laughter erupted as we interacted and learned from one another.
Yesterday, Friday, July 29, we celebrated our week together with cooperative learning games, intentionally chosen by Tracy to promote critical thinking, perseverance, and problem solving. As we played the games together, I could not help but be struck with the reality that it is the unpretentious things in life that matter- friendship, laughter, cooperation, and engagement.
As we gathered together to present the Professional Development Certificates, I witnessed once again the joy Haitian people take in each other as they celebrated by clapping, cheering, and snapping pictures of each participant as he or she came forward to receive their certificate. Then as we embraced one another, we moved naturally into our common language, the language of prayer for one another. As we leave Haiti tomorrow morning, we carry the Haitian people in our hearts which they have transformed with their love.