Saturday, February 14, 2009

Teachers Without Borders

I work with a couple of colleagues who have embraced social justice in very visible, concrete ways. One of my colleagues travels to Africa through her local Rotary Club and helps build schools and brings school supplies to impoverished areas. My other colleague has adopted a child from Ethiopia. I am in awe at their commitment to causing change in the world - they have truly absorbed the concept that change can happen one person at a time.
I have been experiencing a hole, gap, emptiness at times teaching and working in Canada. There is a lack of appreciation for what we have and people keep demanding more and more of education and educators. This causes me to think about some of the conditions that I have seen in third world countries - I have visited various places in the Caribbean and have seen such deep poverty that I wonder how people can survive. If their education system could offer half of what ours does they'd think they'd won the lottery and then some.
Which brings me to what I'd like to share today. It's an organization called Teachers Without Borders. I came upon this via Sharon Peters blog.
Here's their mission:
Teachers Without Borders - Canada is a non-profit, non-denominational NGO devoted to closing the education divide through teacher professional development and community education. Our organization focuses on the building of teacher leaders. We work primarily, but not exclusively, in developing countries, in order to build self-reliance, health, and capacity.
I have always dreamed about working for an organization like Doctors Without Borders. Slight problem however - I'm not a doctor or a nurse or other medical practitioner. So when I came across Teaches Without Borders, I thought that this might just be what I'm looking for to start filling up the gaps as it matches my skill set. So I've signed up to join the organization and we'll what happens.
As I was working my way through their site, I came across this resource for teaching controversial issues. It's developed by Oxfam - UK and the resource has a number of lesson plans from Early Years (diversity) to grade 12 by using essential questions, photographs and current event media. For those of you who have worked with Jeffrey Wilhelm ( he worked with teachers and administrators in our board last week) these lessons tie in perfectly with inquiry-based learning.

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