For several summers, teachers from IGRC have conducted teacher training sessions in the United Methodist Schools of Liberia. It is shock for IGRC teachers to walk into small, dark classrooms with only a chalkboard and very little resources, but they soon meet teachers in Liberia who are dedicated, who love their students and are eager to learn new skills.
However, it does not take long for the interchange of ideas to begin to flow as they learn from each other for a few days. This is definitely laity ministry in action.
We are often humbled by the wonderful job teachers do in Liberia without all of the modern “bells and whistles” that teachers in the U.S. have at their fingertips. Trainings have been in Monrovia, Gbarnga and Ganta primarily for the elementary through junior high grade levels. Teachers in Liberia are eager to learn new classroom management techniques. Can you imagine a class filled with students from wall to wall and some desks, especially on the elementary level, have two to three children per desk with only a piece of chalk to teach.
I am always surprised by some of the questions and interchange of information that occurs in the IGRC teacher training sessions as we become better acquainted with one another. Once a elementary teacher asked, “If my wife and I sleep under a mosquito net over our bed and the children are on the floor, but are not covered by the net, are they protected from mosquitos?” It sounds like a question that should be simply answered and it is easy to wonder why this teacher did not know the answer, but it was crucial to his family’s health and perhaps he had never used a mosquito net before. This information given to a classroom filled with children just “might” protect some of those children from the ravages of malaria. Teacher training is often more than lesson plans, classroom management and new techniques to reach students.
This laity movement in IGRC is making an impact on the quality of education in Liberia. Each time a training session includes teachers IGRC have trained in the past, there are always references to how they have incorporated new skills within the classroom as they come to learn more with open minds.
Another IGRC teacher training mission team is forming for July 2014. IGRC has a wealthy resource of well trained, experienced teachers in all of our congregations. If God is calling you to minister to and learn from fellow educators in Liberia, let’s talk.