February - a month of Teacher Training
Elspeth Dugdale | March 1, 2015
"Start as you mean to go on" ...........A useful premise for beginning the school year - and particularly apt for this year as the first few weeks were packed with preparation meetings and training days. Like the students, the teachers come from all over Uganda, so training for the whole staff can only happen once the term officially starts. Therefore, it is more practical to do this in the first few days, as the students are starting to come back to school.
WTA Staff Training This was a great opportunity for the whole teaching team to meet together - with a mixture of part time and full time teachers, it is not always easy to meet as a whole team. Director Charles started the day by telling the very moving and powerful story of how and why the school began - up to the present day. For many teachers, this was the first time they'd heard what makes WTA a unique school in Uganda. The rest of the morning covered many of the important practicalities of this new term - uniform, school fees, school rules, discipline - just like any other secondary school! The afternoon was devoted to some broader teaching issues, to staff teamwork and practical skills. There's nothing like inciting a little healthy competition in a specific task, to get the teachers fully involved and active - in this case, how to make better use of the excellent library resources at WTA. Stan and Sue, Elspeth and Jerry were all involved in the day, together with the Senior Management Team.
Leadership Training During Week 2, the Senior Management Team themselves took part in a Leadership Training Programme with a great friend of ours, Philippa Chapman, who is now a "neighbour", being currently based in Nairobi. This was a unique opportunity for the SMT to 'step out' of the school week and spend time together looking at 'what' they lead/manage and 'how' they do it. Philippa provided fresh and valuable insight into some of the current needs and issues at WTA. The sessions undoubtedly gave the team inspiration and new skills for the year ahead.
The Bridge Teacher Training Day Another talented friend, Carol Willison from Kampala, led a Literacy and Writing Workshop which was open to the teachers of the schools that use The Bridge. We anticipated anything from 8 up to 25-30 participants, but were delighted to see 58 teachers attend. Some schools even closed for the day, so that all staff could take part. Fortunately Deborah had catered and planned for a large audience, and needless to say, the education room at The Rock was at full capacity. Once again, by getting everyone involved in the 'Read Aloud' activity and the storywriting sessions, the teachers were able to see the results for themselves. A really great day for The Bridge - forging deeper links with the schools and creating friendship and skills base learning for some new schools also.
One highlight of the day was to welcome teachers from a brand new primary school, that had just opened and become linked to The Bridge. Set up by an 'OB' (Old Boy from 2012!) of WTA, Willy Mayega, who is also employing another two ex WTA pupils as teachers. There are already 100 nursery/primary children on the school register. More news of this next month.
Investing time,energy and resources into teacher/staff training - as the three projects mature and develop - will really help all those involved to make the best use of a well resourced facility and also assist with planning for the future.