| Apr 8, 2016
2016 Teacher Training: 29 threads woven into one
Our home for the week
This past month 29 aspiring preschool educators traveled from all across the country to the foothills of the sweltering Pacific Coast to attend Magic Classroom’s week-long Annual Teacher Training held on the beautiful grounds of a historical and still-functioning coastal plantation. Thanks to the help of both our program sponsors from the Tillotson Fund for Guatemala and our local partners from the Catholic parish of San Felipe Retalhuleu, we were able to host our intensive week-long training at the incredibly inviting and unique grounds of the Proyecto de San Dionisio located just outside the town Nuevo Palmar, giving the week a certain summer camp feel to it.
Whether working together to cook dinner or wash dishes, in next to no time we saw our once timid recruits from the cold highlands were chumming it up with some of the more rambunctious facilitators from the newly-formed coastal group. Most of the group started off as feeling like strangers to one another, but by the time that the first scorching afternoon hit and we all began to feel as if we were swimming in a collective pool of sweat, the ice had been effectively melted. Between a variety of teambuilding games and activities (each regional group was asked to present a skit representative of their hometowns for example), sleeping dorm style with as many as 15 to a room on woven floor mats, working into the wee-hours of the evening making recycled classroom materials, or just talking cultural differences, sharing music and refining dance moves, the seeds of friendship were being planted all around us.
In many ways this year’s training was as big of a challenge as we’ve ever faced. We had never before played host to so many people before, let alone on a sprawling country farm at least 15 minutes away from the nearest town. Despite the logistical challenges and odds and ends, we relished the opportunity to gather such a diverse group of truly special individuals all eager to learn and create change in their communities. As such we made sure to squeeze every last ounce of the time afforded to us to prepare the group to be effective Magic Classroom facilitators. Despite the routine 14 hour workdays, the week flew by in no time, and like just as quickly as it had all come together, it was all over. Phone numbers, Facebook info and some tearful hugs were all exchanged as our fleet of vans and pickup trucks slowly filled with people, marking the end of an incredible week and the beginning of a new era in our growing program. Just like that, 29 previously unconnected individuals began their slow march back to their communities, carrying with them not only boxes of supplies and books, but also full hearts and a palpable sense of mission that will surely help them this school year and beyond.
We play games to break the ice!
Teaching the Magic Classroom way in a local school
Groups presented skits on hometown traditions
Recycled materials make for happy teachers
Saying goodbye is never easy