Dear South Sudanese Teachers,
I regret to inform you that we may have to cancel the May teacher conference. We had planned to come, as you requested, to continue the literacy training we started in January. I know it is difficult to teach your children to read when you hardly read well yourselves. Keep practicing your letter sounds with the charts you made when we were there. Those sounds are the building blocks of reading. Also, continue to use the books we left you. If you will read one a day to your students they will gain the desire to read.
For those of you who teach upper grades, remember that reading is important in all subjects, so do not forget to use your subject to teach literacy. I know that South Sudan has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world because war has disrupted education for 50 years. Do not let that discourage you. Teaching the children to read while you wait to go home is a huge undertaking, but it will change your country.
For the conference in May we had planned to have sessions in phonics, comprehension, and other important foundational information on reading. However, the most exciting plan was to bring books so we could teach you how to do book studies with your children. We were going to divide you into groups based on the subjects you teach, and then take the afternoon sessions to let YOU fall in love with reading. We had picked beginner books (Not novels since you aren’t quite able to do those yet.) for each subject, such as The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind for science. Our goal was to show how one African boy used reading and knowledge of science to help save his village from starvation. We had lessons planned for each section of the book, to show you how to create active learning activities and critical thinking discussions that can transfer from what you are reading to how you are living. We had picked books for each subject area so you can begin to use these techniques, not only to learn to read better for yourselves, but also to teach your students how to read.
At this point, though I have the plan and lessons ready to go, I do not have the funds to get there. I realize that you are hungry for more training and that is why you have asked us to come do these conferences multiple times a year while you have breaks between terms. I have been able to come twice a year, but it seems that this year that may not be true.
Our goal is to raise up nationals to come alongside you to continue these trainings, so the cost will not be so much. That is why we have Winnie coming to you once a month for a week, but even though she is a national it still costs to get her to you each month. What we would love to do is to train all of you, and then have you train other teachers throughout the camps. We want what you are learning to spread to other South Sudanese people in the camp communities. We believe this is the best way for knowledge to spread. I am working on raising the funds to get to you, and to bring resources with me when I come. I am hoping to have other teachers to come along with me this time so we can do more reading groups. Please pray with me that God will provide a way.
Please help me to AVOID having to send this letter.
To see why I keep going back, please watch www.aschoolcalledhope.com It is worth the time, I promise. It will inspire you.
To give directly to the school go to www.greaterhopeproject.org
To give directly to the teachers who lead the trainings (including me) go to www.advancingleaders.org click on donate and when the drop down menu comes up click on my name to support me, or click on general to support our on ground teacher Winnie
To give to ME directly, or to GO WITH ME let’s talk! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org