Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kau Puleako Fakataha || Principal's Meeting

Once a month the kau puleako (principals) from my island group get together at the satellite office of the Ministry of Education to learn and grow from each other. This month I was invited to attend their meeting. My principal, 'Atu, and I met with the other administrators after their country-wide weekly radio broadcast. The radio broadcast reviews important educational items, gives teachers ideas of what they should be teaching and goes over logistical information that otherwise might be difficult to disseminate across a country whose islands are spread so far apart. Some of the Ministry of Education (MOE) staff members are interested in learning from my experience as an elementary school teacher in the United States (and other Peace Corps Volunteers). This makes me excited and nervous ... I'm excited because it's fun to show people what works in the classroom and what I've learned that translates to the students of Tonga. It makes me nervous because many of these teachers have 5 times the experience I have in the classroom and I don't want to step on any toes. Not only am I white (What does a white girl know about teaching a Tongan child?) but I'm also young (hrmph...well young-looking ... What experience do I bring to the table that would really help to prepare teachers to be more effective at teaching English?) I have to tread carefully. What I have learned so far in my journey is that it's best to present ideas that are easily transferable (and easy to do) in the Tongan classroom and to come with an open attitude that shows that I'm just as interested in learning from them as I am excited to share my ideas. And I really am excited to learn from them. I work with some really enthusiastic people and if I choose to go back into the classroom when I return to the States, I have expanded my toolkit just by working with these rad people.


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