As a teacher, one thing I love to do is connect my classroom to my non-profit work in other communities. I am constantly teaching my students to be good citizens and it is important for me to exemplify that expectation. Every project I have done through International Inspiration has been connected to my workplace in one way or another. In this case, since I have been back from Guinea, I have been working with the teachers and students in the 4th grade French Track at my current school, The GLOBE Academy.
The initial plan was to establish penpals between students here and there, however, things do not always work out the way we envision them. Upon my return to America, teachers began a strike in Guinea. Because of these strikes, schools were forced to close. Our French teacher, Amy Bingham, and I used this as an opportunity to open up a conversation with our students about challenges faced by different communities. We talked about the strikes in Guinea and we talked about how there have been teacher strikes in America too. We put ourselves in the shoes of those students and thought about how we would feel if the strikes in Guinea happened here in our country.
We've also spent time learning about the culture of Guinea. One great question the students asked me was how I communicate when I go to Guinea. I explained to them that people always find a way of connecting and communicating. They learned how Guinea's French is mixed with ethnic languages as well. I shared with them the handful of phrases I know in Susu and they loved learning these new foreign expressions. Students also had the opportunity to research Guinea, learning about their flag, food, geography, customs, and more!
It has been a lot of fun connecting my students here to my work in another community I care about, in a different country, across the great Atlantic Ocean.