International Teachers Supporting Kenyan Teaching Team During Lockdown
By Sandra Rodrigues
Resilience is “the ability to be happy, successful, etc. again after something difficult or bad has happened.” (Cambridge dictionary)
In different parts of the world right now, we are all learning to be a little more resilient with ourselves and especially with everyone around us.
Personally, I was looking forward to joining our Nasio school teachers in Kenya in March to deliver our second Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) program, but due to Covid-19, it had to be postponed.
Postponed till the day I got a message from Ian Mbati, our Nasio schools head teacher, humbly asking “how can we develop our teachers during the quarantine?” At that moment I realized that our ECDE program must not be postponed, instead it should be reinvented.
“Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, and with each other”. (Freire, 1968)
Duly inspired, Ian Mbati, Nancy Hunt, I have organized a group of volunteer educators in Brazil and the UK (Asa, Isabel and Vanessa) to reinvent our first online ECDE program. We gathered our Nasio teachers in a WhatsApp group (although two unfortunately do not have a cell phone) and we send them a daily image with a question or positive thought.
As none of our teachers in Mumias have a computer at home, we have developed a reflective diary (printed in our schools) and every two weeks we meet online via Zoom to discuss our teaching practices before and after the pandemic.
This month we have our first “Nasio Trust Schools Songs and Poems.” In this “book” (it will be loose pages but I’d rather call it a book), we have nursery rhymes and Kiswahili poems chosen by Anne, Gladys, Rebecca, Sylvia, Tabytha and Violet, our Nasio teachers. This has been illustrated by Letícia Nakano and Vitória Teivelis and will be delivered to all of our St. Irene’s and Noah’s Ark students.
In June, we will also have some nursery rhymes which will be sung and played in a Brazilian style samba! We are sure that the voice and swing of our friend Anita will delight the hearts of our entire team.
This is what we have been doing to improve our ability to be happy and successful again after something difficult and bad has happened to all of us. As one of our Nasio’s teachers said this week, we have to give ourselves hope.
Yes my friends, more than ever, together we are better!