Our trainee wants a good future for the children in his region. He wants R.E.C. to be the pivotal focus point for a network of schools in local villages which provide education for the youngsters. He wants repeatable curricula for both English and Math across all of the grades which will start at R.E.C and be administered in the partner schools operating under it. The teachers will come to train at R.E.C before going home to their village where they will set up the curriculum under the guidance of the more experience staff with whom they were trained.
NEH is planning still; we are in a continual cycle of trial, feedback and error. We cannot become complacent because we still don’t have the working model of how our education system will merge with the local facilities. We began by giving out laptops, and now we are giving live feedback in an intensive one-on-one training program.
We will have weekly meetings. These meetings will ask 5 questions of the teachers. The questions are as follows:
1. What topic(s) did you teach this week?
2. What one thing do you remember went well?
3. Who or What were you proud of this week?
4. What went badly; if you did the lesson again what would be different?
5. Tell us one time you felt: angry, disappointed and happy.
In April the teachers will be asked and expected to formulate coherent replies to the question of ‘why?’ for questions 2 and 5. By May, I want the teachers to be able to answer ‘why?’ for all of the questions. Minutes will be kept; at first by me and a teacher. After I leave, the minute keeping will be the sole responsibility of the teacher. There is no paper trail here of anything; the monk does not write down what he spends money on, nor where he receives money. The teachers do not keep plans. I saw the sorry attempt at planning that my trainee had done; it was a paltry two lines typed onto A4. There were a few words in bold. I suppose that makes it a good plan. I was horrified.
I must keep striving to achieve the balance between pushing him and allowing him to come to it on his own terms. Of course I worry that he tells me he doesn’t enjoy teaching, but I do not consider it an insurmountable problem in the scheme of things. We just need a plan and we will be able to sail into the future safe in the knowledge that one day this will be a thing of the past. Something that was overcome with difficulty, but overcome never-the-less. Of course, there will be a precise record kept in order to instruct any other teacher who feels this same sense of mounting despondence as they are facing with an unfamiliar system and students who have motivation levels which seem to diminish with each passing day, despite being non-existent to begin.
NEH Coordinator and Teacher Trainer