Greetings from Yaounde, Cameroon! After a 24 hour trip including a power outage at another airport, at 1 AM in the morning I finally made it into the welcoming arms of the founder of Tassah Academy, Bih Janet Shufor and her wonderful family and friends. After an exciting day of exploring Yaounde for a national holiday yesterday with two teachers and a local nonprofit worker, my work finally began today, which was spent giving presentations about ISSP to students, teachers, a superintendent, and even a senator!
The warmest welcome was at Tassah Academy, where I was formally welcomed by students with a gift of flowers, making me feel like some celebrity as I presented myself, and thanked them for their hospitality. Then came the teacher’s meeting, with plenty of input. Although some teachers were hesitant, there are a few who have overwhelming enthusiasm for this program, and gave me plenty of good feedback during the hour long Q & A session. A few champions are newer teachers, who have shown promise, according to their boss, Janet. A surprising number have laptops already, and some working knowledge of Skype and Google, so we’re in good shape.
For the next month and a half I will be working with this group, brainstorming on how this program could be successful in their classrooms, and what needs to happen to make ISSP a reality. Although not “one size fits all” when it comes to teacher-to-teacher pairings, through this pilot program we will get an idea of what sort of factors make a successful partnership that will endure.
For those teachers interested in participating in the following weeks, we are setting up skype appointments with any teacher who would like to have a conversation as a “teaser” to our program. Feel free to email me at email@example.com with your skype name and a few times of availability (Cameroon is 8 hours ahead, so try to account for a time when we will be awake) and we will send you a preliminary questionnaire to fill out. Your time on Skype would mean the world to them, answering the questions they have, and it would only take 30 minutes. Please, if you are a teacher, consider this opportunity to speak with your peers from across the globe.
For those interested in long term partnering with Tassah Academy, or other schools, please fill out our 10 minute online questionnaire, so we can have a better idea of your interest: https://www.surveymoonkey.com/s/HKQQGTT. Thanks, and more updates to come!