What a great group of teachers! We finished up the last day of the first session of Teacher Professional Development in the Kibera slum. The teachers will spend the next months working on implementing the things they have learned. They'll meet in cohorts every 3 weeks to discuss their progress, and to get encouragement and ideas from each other. They will send me a report of the cohort meetings with date, time, and attendance. It is part of a long process which makes the one week of input from me actually valuable, because it ensures that they keep practicing and using what they have learned, and don't just set it aside because it is difficult to change.
The Nairobi Council Education Officer visited our training today! I always ask the local organizers to be in touch with the local Ministry of Education (if they were not the ones requesting) so that the education officials know what is going on and are supportive rather than suspicious. If they support the training, then the certificates the teachers or administrators get mean much more. I had expected that the Kibera District Education Officer would be the one to come. But the Nairobi Council is the biggest in Kenya, and this was a very important man. He quizzed me pretty thoroughly, and ended up pleased with the work. We asked if he would come speak to the teachers, and he agreed to do so. He said often teachers say, "I am just a teacher," when asked what they do. So, he told a great little story to encourage the teachers to feel good about their work, even though they are not working in prestigious situations.
"You know, there are many persons here in Nairobi who own many buildings. There are other persons who own matatus, maybe lorries, and others who own buses. But the Lord God said, 'Let us make man in our own image.' And, I think that is what He expects of us, too. When those men die and God asks them what they made, there will be many matatus, or lorries, or buildings in line behind them. And God will say, "Is this like you? Do you want me to make you a truck, or a building?" But you, you will have many children behind you. Because what a teacher makes is in his own image. So, God will be pleased."
"When the student is fully trained, he will be like his teacher." Luke 6:40. Which is why this ministry of providing professional development for Christian school teachers is so impactful.