Planting Seeds: 2014 LWB Teacher Training
Excitement and anticipation are in the air as a team of five education professionals are making final preparations to head to China from their homes in Vermont, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Meanwhile, more than 30 teachers throughout China are getting ready to board trains for the same destination, the LWB Believe in Me School located within the social welfare institute in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province. So, why are all these educators from China and the USA coming together?
The 2014 LWB Teacher Training!
Workshops will be held daily from August 6-10th at the host Believe in Me school in Shaoguan. The training team will provide workshops for teachers from the LWB Believe in Me schools to help them better meet the diverse needs of their students. Not only will the training team and teachers be working together, but the students at the Believe in Me School in Shaoguan will join them to participate in many of the lessons and activities.
The theme for this training is “Planting Seeds and Promoting Growth,” stemming from Eric Carle’s book, The Tiny Seed, which will provide a foundation for many of the activities within the workshops.
Beginning in 2004, LWB partnered with the social welfare institute in Shantou to open our first school within an orphanage so that children who would not be able to attend school outside the orphanage would have the life-changing opportunity to receive an education. This idea grew, and currently there are six LWB Believe in Me Schools within orphanages throughout China as well as programs for Tuition Assistance, Tutoring Support, Secondary and Higher Education, School Nutrition, Life Skills and Community Bridging, and Dental Hygiene housed under LWB’s Education program.
Because children in Believe in Me Schools have a variety of learning needs, ongoing professional development for the caring, dedicated teachers is essential. Thanks to a generous donor who believes in the importance of education for children living in social welfare institutes, this year’s teacher training has been made possible. Two prior trainings like this were held in 2010 and 2012.
It takes many resources to make a training like this happen, and we would like you all to join us in our journey as the financial contributions, time spent preparing and collaborating, and expertise shared will hopefully result in the students in Believe in Me Schools receiving the best education possible. The training team hopes to be able to share updates with you through this blog and Facebook posts while in China.
Before we introduce the 2014 team members, please know that many, many talented professionals applied and interviewed to be part of this training team. Decisions about team membership were quite difficult and ultimately depended on finding a balance of the particular background and experience needed to address key training areas.
Now, to introduce the team:
* The training team will be led by Tracey Scherr, a school psychologist and university professor, who is also an Associate Director for Love Without Boundaries’ Education program. Tracey will be giving workshops such as teaching children with attention challenges and improving classroom behavior using reinforcement strategies.
* Mary Beth Doerr, an occupational therapist, will provide expertise on fine motor skills and meeting students’ sensory needs, among many other topics.
* Leah Sophrin, a speech-language pathologist, will be sharing about methods for improving communication such as using visual supports and social stories.
* Carol Mauermann, a school psychologist/special education teacher who is the Believe in Me School Special Education Consultant for LWB, will be focusing on teaching math concepts and working with students who have autism in addition to other subjects.
We are fortunate that our Education Director, Vicki Cavalier, can be part of the team as well in order to contribute her classroom teaching experiences and facilitate workshops about a variety of things, including lesson planning and providing leadership opportunities for students.
Our translators, Kristie Morrison, Rosa Yang, Shen Zhang, and Stephanie Wang have done an amazing job of translating from English to Chinese the worksheets, activities, and session summaries that we will be sharing with the teachers.
As the teacher training team in the USA and the Believe in Me School teachers and staff in China pack their bags, let’s hope the months of planning pay off and that the tiny seeds planted literally and figuratively during this training help the students grow, and grow, and grow!