As I sat in Utumishi Academy on the evening of 1st August sipping tea with other volunteers awaiting to start facilitators training and consequently delivery of a teachers workshop, I reflected back to when I first attended an EBB workshop in 2008 in Maai Mahiu - being the first of any kind in my then four year teaching experience in a public school - I realised how lucky I was. I was not even a participant; a slot I did not get before EBB, I was a convenor and a trainer in 2011!
Thousands of teachers in Kenya have not had opportunity to sit in a workshop and participate and engage and converse about how they can improve their teaching and ultimately the learning of those children under their charge. But that being the very void that Education Beyond Borders has endeavoured to fill.
Morning came and planning was underway. There were volunteers from Canada; Anita, Beth and Kim coming for the second or third time, and Clare, Ian and Vanessa in the workshops for the first time, facilitator trainers; Jane, Stephen, Rossana, Samuel, Keziah and John and a group of facilitators; Alice, Francis, Hellen, Nicholas, Shelmith, Miriam and James, sitting in the boardroom working through all components of planning a workshop but also including training in facilitation skills for the team of seven who would deliver the three day teacher workshop. It was systems go as the big group split into smaller workgroups and the buzz of activity and hum of voices around the room telling in a way the expectations of the following week. There was no fatigue, no distractions but only a passion to do.
There were community agreements, agenda and goals of the week developed and sessions on facilitation skills ran just as content areas were practised on collaborative learning, differentiated instruction and learning, project based learning, guidance and counselling and professional learning clusters. Scheduling and strategies for programme evaluation were covered too.
Through the week, each day came with new ideas until all was taken in and practically scheduled and reviewed to ensure everything was in place. That did not mean that there were no further questions raised or discussions done because anxiety visible in the faces around had to be dispelled with more clarifications. Anxiety borne of the urge to deliver successfully! Happy that the team was good to go the coming Monday, a pleasant fun-filled evening was planned to end the week and beckon the next task. There was food and music and dancing and jokes to unwind and in two days usher the teacher workshop!
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