Saturday, April 20, 2013

New beginnings

The beginning of the fourth quarter in Guatemala has marked a time for closing doors and opening new ones.  Nicole and Ja had been working with the Basico English program since they arrived in July teaching English classes at the middle school in Central.  Over time we decided that it would be best to equip a teacher from the school to teach these classes, to align with our belief that training a teacher to take over the class would be a much more sustainable model.  In January we held meetings with the directors, teachers and Padres de Familia from the school to discuss this change and were met with a lot of resistance.  At the time the school did not have anyone prepared to teach this class, and of course the community would rather have native English teachers in the classroom.  However, we believe that if we can pass the skills and training onto a teacher at the school, the school would then have an English teacher who can continue to offer English classes in the community long-term.  We came to the compromise that Ja and Nicole would continue attending the classes and offer tutoring and support for a Guatemalan teacher who could then eventually teach the classes on her own.  Our timeline was to attend the classes for three months and then evaluate progress.  When we met in early April to evaluate the situation, we were so glad to hear that Angela, the new English teacher, now feels confident teaching the classes on her own!  Ja and Nicole will continue to offer tutoring for Angela once a week, but will no longer be attending the English classes. 

This allows us much more time to begin focusing on other projects.  This past week we met with various members of the community to discuss the development of new programs.  Right now we are planning to offer: computer classes for women, art classes for primary school students in Central and Cooperativa, environmental & health classes with kindergarten children in Central and school garden & nutrition classes at Cooperativa in partnership with CEIBA.  We will also have more time to dig into the healthy schools initiative diagnostic, analysis and next steps for seeking resources and support to certify the primary schools in Central and Cooperativa.  Lastly, we will continue researching the sexual education and reproductive health program by speaking with community members and partner organizations in order to create a comprehensive culturally sensitive curriculum.  Our Summer interns will be joining us May-July which will be a huge help in making these new programs a reality!  


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