When I was a kid I used to love teacher training days. Mainly because this meant I didn’t have to go to school. Also because we would have a babysitter and I would likely get frozen pizza or some other treat that I normally didn’t. My parents on the other hand generally grumbled about having to spend 8 hours doing some sort of professional development when they could be grading or making lesson plans.
Over Easter vacation I spent four days at a training for English teachers in my region. Teacher trainings in Madagascar are a bit different. For one thing they don’t really exist. The ones that happen are generally put on by peace corps education volunteers. The second main difference is how much the teachers want to be there. These teachers had to apply to give up four days of their vacation to be there. That’s right you American teachers, these guys gave up part of the first break they had since January to do professional development. (Though to be fair I would choose to go to our training over an inservice day in the states)
So what did we do for these four days? We talked about lesson planning and English clubs. We talked about gender equity and giving positive feedback. And we talked about school gardens and how to incorporate them into curriculum planning. We got the teachers thinking outside the box (not always common) and how they can bring their knew knowledge to other teachers at their schools.
We also had a time each day where people could ask whatever questions they had about America or the English language. This was probably my favorite part of the day. We talked about the American education system is like. We talked about the word for dandruff and when it’s appropriate to use the word cray. We talked about the difference between vegetarians and vegans and why people choose to be one. A lot of these teachers speak with a larger vocabulary than most Americans and yet we’re constantly worried about knowing more.
Overall it was a great training. You could tell how engaged everyone was in what was happening and how passionate they were about being better English speakers and teachers.