|August 2010 Letter from Adrienne Parcher
What better way is there to help people in a developing country to break the cycle of poverty than by improving the quality of education? That is exactly what the PathLight Teacher Training Conference is all about - sharing practical teaching strategies, encouraging and building up the local educators, and empowering them to share the love of Jesus Christ with the children in their classrooms.
Our third annual conference was a huge success. With the blessing of the Ministry of Education in Belize, we expanded the event to two weeks in order to partner with more schools. Ninety Belizean educators were in attendance during the two weeks. They return to their classrooms empowered, encouraged and ready to have a positive impact on the lives of nearly 3000 children just in this next school year!!
It was such a joy to work alongside the thirteen master teachers that God called as volunteer trainers for this trip. They prepared for months and their dedication and expertise were inspiring to each other and to the Belizeans. Not only did they display loving and caring hearts, but they brought with them a wealth of experience and ideas that they shared throughout the two weeks of conference. Here's what some of the Belizean educators had to say:
"I think the conference is excellent on a whole and your organization must be applauded for the effort, hard work and commitment to the development of education in our country, as well as improving teacher excellence in the classroom."
"Very practical and age appropriate. Lecturers presented with conviction. Experience was evident. Great job!!!"
The workshops on the first two days of each conference week focused on building literacy skills. The third day's workshops were about positive discipline. (This is a subject that is extremely timely as Belize is in the beginning of a transition away from corporal punishment in the classroom.) On the fourth day of each conference week, we offered elective workshops on topics such as music, making math fun, assessment, and special needs children. Some comments on these workshops included:
"It was useful because I can take things that I learn back to the classroom."
"Very educational. I learnt a lot and now I feel confident to implement it in class."
"I found ways to enforce discipline without having to whip or yell at my children."
We asked the participants how we could improve the conference next year. By far, the most popular answer was to extend each conference to two weeks so that even more ideas could be shared. Clearly, the relationships that were formed among all participants, both Belizean and North American, were meaningful. My personal favorite responses to how the conference can be improved are:
"That you invite us again to experience the wonderful ideas that you gave us this past week!"
"Thank you for coming to Belize. May God bless you."
And I say to you, friends and supporters of PathLight, "Thank you for making it possible for us to go to Belize. May God bless you."
Adrienne Parcher, Executive Program Director
P.S. Enjoy this glimpse below into what it all looked like!