On Tuesday, we woke up to the sound of rain pattering on the tin corrugated roof outside of our room. It was so peaceful enjoying the calming rain this morning as I overlooked the hills from the porch of the second floor. There's something about rain that makes you feel at ease - as if we are given a chance to lay low and be a bit melancholic just as Mother Nature is. This calm morning was much needed after the excitement of the last week.
We've all made special connections here. Many people ask if we plan to return and are very fond of those who have. It's meaningful for people to know that they have connections in the US / in other countries. Today during teacher training and Wellspring Academy, I felt a pull on my heart as one of the colleagues and friends that I made, Ernest, asked if I will ever come back or teach in Rwanda. If I came back solely to work with those teacher trainers, it would be worth it. There are many reasons, actually, People to come back here for; The many children I've shared small talk with in various languages, our friend Clovis at Gihembe, Elvis from the village, 'little Jerry' at Gashora, and Ernest.
It's easy to say 'yes, ill come back' and it's also easy to say 'wow, screw America! I'm staying here and teaching and living a lovely happy life!!!'
Both of these statements need to be evaluated carefully. It's good to recall a rule of the village: consider anything for five minutes.
Yes, I would love to come back. But yes, I would also hate to lie to someone like Clovis and say I'm coming back just because I'm feeling good at heart and it feels nice.
When it comes to staying here, I'm thankful that Crystal reminded me in a very grounding way that I have a duty back home in America's education system to change it for the better and to leave my footprint by telling my students that they matter while preparing them for life. Ever since last semester, I have truly found my place in Buffalo's community and recognize that the work I hope to do will be focused on a more specific area. You never know the future though.
Learning about the education system and the new national curriculum in Rwanda was so very enlightening and informing.
One of the things that stood out to me the most was something that came up while we had our tea break and I spoke with Ernest. I asked him about the new curriculum. More specifically, I asked him about the qualifications of the government officials who are in charge of writing it. I shared with him that in America, we have something called the common core and that in most cases, the ones who wrote this curriculum have little to zero experience in education or teaching. It's not 100% different in Rwanda, but he did say that some of the officials do indeed have a background in teaching. It seems and sounds like the new curriculum will be very much so geared toward the best interest of the future of Rwanda. This is one of the many ways in which this nation is forward thinking and willing to share their ideals with us so that hopefully we can change our nation for the better, too.
Students are not only taught languages, math, science, and social studies, but focus on genocide studies, hygiene, and various values such as: unity, uniqueness, accountability, peace, and reconciliation among many others.
Feedback and observation driven forms of testing their curriculum are utilized. There is so much to learn here. My notebook is filling up!
Overall, yesterday was such a full and fun day building themes and structure to describe how we feel about the new curriculum in Rwanda. I took many notes and gave much of my mind and heart to our friends at Wellspring. I look forward to hearing how drama based education flows into their curriculum along with hearing how the new curriculum is! They don't start school until February so the anticipation is strong!
That's all for now!