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Virginia Teachers Partner with Source of Light to Provide Virtual Teacher Training

Posted: 4/7/21 at 8:00am. Written by Kristy Genung.

Churches from across Virginia have partnered with the Source of Light Center’s children’s home and school in Port Au Prince, Haiti, since BGAV helped start the Source of Light Center after the Haiti Earthquake in 2010.  Since this time there has been a need to provide training for teachers at the school.  I led a 4 day teacher training in 2018 but travel has been restricted since then due to political unrest as well as the pandemic.  The Source of Light Center Education Resource Team was formed from BGAV and Haitian educators. They decided teacher training was an area in which we could continue to partner and provide training in a virtual manner while travel restrictions are in place.

On  March 13th we were able to lead 2 training sessions for teachers at SOLC.  SOLC teachers participating in the training ranged in expertise from preschool through high school levels.  The teachers were engaged and excited to learn new strategies and skills to implement in their classes.  We pressed on through some technical difficulties to deliver sessions that were practical and easy to implement that will help engage and assess their students.

The first session was led by Kathleen Miller who teaches for Suffolk Public Schools and Tara Donahue who teach for Virginia Beach Public Schools.  The session they led was on active learning. This session focused on skills and strategies to keep students engaged throughout lessons.   The second session is the session I was privileged to lead for the teachers. I teach for Campbell County Public Schools and had the privilege to lead a session for the teachers on assessments.  We discussed different types of assessments as well as the importance and purpose of assessments.  Most of our session focused on how to implement a very quick but effective formative assessment at the end of a lesson and then how to use that data to help students.  We talked about how to use what we learn about our students during these assessments to adjust the next day’s lesson. We discussed how to give extra support to the students who are struggling with a skill so that they can be successful. I wanted to focus on formative assessments during this session because it is so important to use the data which we collect to help meet the needs of students.  One of the things I presented was when giving a student additional support or reteaching, that it is acceptable for that student not to get all independent practice work completed.

One on one or small group support from their teacher is more beneficial than independent practice.  A teacher thanked me for saying this because often in Haiti, teachers will keep students after class to finish work.  This relays a message that they are being punished because they struggle to learn a skill.  When students struggle, teachers need to adapt instruction to help support them not use practices that cause them to feel punished.  Working with the teachers at Source of Light is one of my favorite and most rewarding things I get to do.  Knowing that I get to use my passion to help teachers from other parts of the world is encouraging to me.  Watching and hearing the passion, engagement, and excitement of the SOLC teachers as they participate in training sessions always reignites my passion for my students.  Here in the US we are given so many opportunities for training we often take it for granted.  I am so thankful to be able to work with educators from another part of the world who are doing the same work I am doing with much more challenging circumstances but are still so passionate and determined to do what is best for their kids. It inspires me every day!

Learn more about the Source of Light Center here