A school without teachers is really just a building. We partner closely with our teachers to understand their challenges and to help tackle those challenges.
Our teachers have a lot on their plates. Our teachers live in the remote villages where they teach, often far from family and friends. They face huge classes (as large as 100 students!). They have extremely limited classroom materials -- many schools in Mali don't have any textbooks at all.
To top all that off, Mali's teacher shortage means that many teachers receive little training before the classroom and more often than not they have no chance at continuing education to help polish their skills.
We partner with our teachers to address some of the most crucial issues. Currently, our work focuses on providing professional teacher training and evaluations.
In addition, we support peer groups where small groups of teachers can exchange ideas, challenges, and creative solutions. This year we're also launching a peer-nominated awards process to recognize just a few of our most outstanding teachers.
The Latest From the Teacher Project
Thanks to our supporters, each year Mali Rising hosts a week-long training for our teachers. Last school year, we gathered 39 teachers from our 19 middle schools for a training where they learned from experts and grew with their teacher peers. For each training, we evaluate a subset of participating teachers before and after the training. The results are in for our 17/18 school year teacher training!
This month we hosted one of our favorite small gatherings -- a teacher peer-to-peer meeting. Mali Rising Foundation invests in our teachers because they are investing in our students. Without good teachers, a school is just a building. Our most recent peer-to-peer meeting included 8 teachers from three of our schools. Learn more about how it went and check out some pictures of our teachers in action...
A school isn't worth the bricks it's built with if you don't have good teachers working inside. We believe that, and so do our generous supporters. Thanks to attendees at our annual Soiree, in December 2017 we hosted our third teacher training. Teachers in Mali are often provided with very little education and then sent to remote villages to sink or swim with classrooms that can be filled with 100 + students. With your help, we sent 39 teachers back to the classroom with new skills and new energy to help our kids!
Last week, our Mali staff was in the field again. They traveled to a group of our farthest-flung schools near the border with Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast to conduct a pre-training evaluation of eight teachers at four schools. What did they learn?
Over the last several years, we've begun investing in our teachers. Why, you ask? Well, fundamentally teachers are what make a school a school...rather than a pole barn filled with screaming teenagers. A more nuanced answer though is that we had seen how little training and support were offered to our teachers, and how isolated they were in our small villages. One way we are supporting our teachers is through an annual 5-day professional training. But how do we know if that training is actually helping our teachers and hence our students?
Have you ever attended a job training or professional development seminar, only to return to work and find yourself totally buried again? (If you don't say yes, I've got my suspicions about you.) That's very much the case for Mali Rising's dedicated teachers -- although they long for additional training, when the finally receive it they'll come home to a classroom full of as many as 100 teenagers...and that can make sticking to new ideas and practices hard. That's why we're adding something new to to keep the lessons from our annual teacher trainings alive in the classroom...
Our teacher training wrapped up last week. In this post, we share an inside peek at the training through photos of the action!