Saturday, December 16, 2017

Teachers Willing and Eager to Learn in Uganda

September 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Going Global, Monthly Articles

This month I’m excited to share more details and reports from the Teacher’s Conferences we held in Uganda during the 2010 Outreach.

The educators sharing their skills and knowledge with Ugandan teachers and school officials were Sharlyn Guthrie, Director of Education of Music, Wendy Cronbaugh, Norma Vogt and Andrea Green.  Aaron Green played a dual role as a member of the Men’s Ministry Team and the Educator’s Team; he was the key spokesman at the Teachers Conference in Tororo.

The response was so incredible that we’ve been asked to expand into new areas next year and include Teacher’s Conferences in several other school districts.  We are excited to prayerfully consider each invitation and allow the Lord to open doors according to His plans and purposes in 2011 and beyond.

Sharlyn, Wendy, Norma and Andrea share their thoughts below. What a blessing it is to share this with you!

Education Director’s Report
by Sharlyn Guthrie

What a blessing it was to make my second trip to Uganda this June, this time as the Education Director for HGIM East Africa.  My primary focus of responsibility for this trip was planning and holding a teacher conference in Tororo.

God graciously provided four other educators for this year’s team:  Norma Vogt, a middle school life skills teacher; Wendy Cronbaugh, sixth grade teacher; Andrea Green, third grade teacher; and Aaron Green, school administrator and at-risk student advisor.

The conference was held at the Prime Hotel for two afternoons.  We hosted a total of approximately 100 teachers, representing 40 or more schools.  The conference was opened by the minister of education, and additional speeches were made a member of the Ugandan Parliament, Tororo’s mayor, and our  Executive Director, Denise Matthews.

The theme of our conference was “From Gravity to Grace.” As our keynote speaker, Aaron Green spoke on this topic, both at the beginning and at the end of the conference.  The gospel was clearly presented to the entire group at least twice.

The other whole group sessions presented were “Learning Styles,” led by Norma Vogt, and “Teachers as Counselors” by Wendy Cronbaugh and Michelle Lehmkuhl.  Jan Ross and Jeanice McDade addressed the entire group on Day two as well.

Small group workshops included the following:
Early Learning Environments
Math Enrichment
Identifying and Accommodating Learning Disabilities
Learning Through Music
What Makes a Successful Reader/Writer?
Life Skills:  Health, Nutrition, and First Aid
One of the highlights of the conference for all of us was an impromptu exchange of music.  We shared several educational and fun songs with the Ugandan teachers, and many of them shared their songs with us.  The Minister of Education initiated this by singing a childhood song of her own.

Both days we served the teachers a delicious buffet lunch, and at the end of the conference we distributed posters, maps, books, flash cards, and educational games to each school.  It was also our privilege to be able to give Bibles to several teachers who requested them.  The conference was very well received and appreciated by those who attended.

A few days after the teacher conference we traveled to King’s Primary School, whose teachers had traveled to Tororo to attend our teacher conference. Although we arrived at the school late due to poor road conditions, we were able to enjoy the program they prepared for us and visit each of the classrooms.  Norma did a math “flyswatter game” and I did a puppet presentation and craft on Psalm 17:8, “Keep me as the apple of your eye.  Hide me in the shelter of your wings.”  It was especially encouraging to see the students in the older classes reading from the Bibles we gave them last year.

After leaving King’s Primary School, we stopped briefly and visited Pastor Steven and Rozelyn’s Royal Palace Primary and Nursery School on our way home, and the children sang some special songs they had prepared for us.  Some of their students are sponsored through Heart of God International.

During our stay in Tororo we helped out at Smile Africa for several days.  The teachers there badly need more support, with the ratio of teacher to student being roughly one to sixty!  This includes approximately 80 children from 8 months to five years old.  I did my puppet talk in the overcrowded P-1 class which had 67 students in attendance that day.  The 6-8 year old children in that class were literally sitting on top of each other, and doing the planned craft was a challenge.  The finished product, an apple fan, was a hit with the students, however.

In Entebbe we visited Luzira women’s prison, which is part of Saphan’s prison ministry.  I was in the group that visited with the prisoners who attend school.  This group is highly motivated, seeing education as their only hope beyond prison. The only teachers in the prison school are fellow prisoners.  This group presented a long wish list of things that would be helpful to them for their education. Aaron spoke to them, telling them that even if we could provide all of these things, they would have nothing unless they had a relationship with Jesus Christ.  We talked with many of them individually, then we sang and prayed together.

The last school we visited was Agnes’ Entebbe Early Learning Center.  The students put on a wonderful program of music and drama for us.  Then we divided into five groups to match the five “family” groups the school is divided into for the year.  These groups provide emotional and spiritual support for the student body.  We rotated until each of our five groups had met with each of the five family groups, doing games, crafts, and other activities with the students.  The Early Learning Center is fairly well equipped, but many of the students are children of prisoners or refugees.  Some are orphaned or abandoned.  Approximately 1/3 of the student body is housed at the school. Aaron was able to speak to the teachers, offering them some words of encouragement.  Their request to us is to hold a teacher conference in Entebbe.

It was such a privilege to work in each of these educational settings, getting acquainted with the teachers and hearing firsthand the hopes and desires they have for their students and their schools.   I look forward to establishing long term relationships with the administrators and teachers of the five schools we visited.  I also hope and pray that we can provide more training and educational materials to them as we return to assist and encourage them in their responsibilities.  Many of the teachers we met truly love the Lord Jesus and desire to share His love with their students.  By lending teachers our help and support we can greatly affect the lives and improve the education of hundreds of Ugandan students.

Hungry to Learn More
by Wendy Cronbaugh

I never would have guessed how impressed I would be with the teachers at the teacher conference in Tororo.  I was also saddened to see how hungry they were to learn more, so that they could teach their students better.  I was so moved by how much these teachers wanted to be equipped so they could teach their students, and I want to be able to return so that I can help them do that.  I enjoyed sharing my knowledge of education with teachers who wanted to be better in their profession.  I was also moved by how much the teachers are like myself, and other American teachers.

Christian Emphasis More Than Acceptable
by Norma Vogt

As a current public school teacher, I was impressed with how the Ugandan teachers and leaders could openly mention God and Jesus in their schools. They were excited to learn songs and rhymes with a Christian emphasis. Many times they would say “Praise God!”  It brought tears to my eyes every time.  This would not be acceptable at a secular teacher conference in our country. I pray that these teachers will come to know the one and only true God and his Son, Jesus Christ, and continue to acknowledge Him in their school.

Eagerness and Passion for Teaching
by Andrea Green

At all of the schools I was very glad and thankful to see that the teachers in Uganda were eager and willing to learn and also had a passion and a love for teaching, despite the menial supplies, hungry bellies, and huge class sizes they have to deal with each and every day. This eagerness and passion for teaching have reverberated into my first year of teaching; I have all of the supplies in abundance, low class sizes, and my kids are fed every day. I hope to continue to teach with the same passion the teachers in Uganda have and to remember them everyday in my prayers and my everyday life.

Conclusion
by Denise Matthews

All too often we neglect to consider the weighty responsibility teachers carry.  To equip a teacher is to touch not only one child, but many as they sit under his or her instruction.  When a teacher is infused with excitement and has new ideas to creatively teach the children so they will enjoy the learning experience.

I’m in awe of how God used each teacher throughout the entire trip.  There was an amazing sense of excitement as they embraced the responsibility to invest their prayers and resources into all those they were able to impact with their enthusiasm.

Thank you to each of your for your prayers and support.  I pray these updates will encourage you and help you understand how important  your role was and continues to be in the ministry that took place while we were in Uganda.  Your prayers were felt and your support went far to make sure every need was met, both budgeted and unbudgeted.  Thank you!

Saphan Manhunguzi will be sharing a report on the Prison Ministry in our next newsletter.  God is moving in Uganda and in the lives of the men and women who dared to respond to God’s call to “Go into all the whole and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

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