During a recent trip to the Philippines, Brett Madron, Craig Duffy and Nathan Cameron conducted a seminar for 15 teachers at nearby Palo National High School. Each of the three has taught at the Academy and Institute for G.O.D. and have facilitated after school programs for schools in the Nashville area. The idea for a seminar arose after a few of our team members visited the high school in effort to connect with students. The administration eagerly invited our team to come back and facilitate a seminar - a request we were happy to meet.
A common thread we have found amongst public schools where we serve around the world is that teachers are often overwhelmed and lack resources to grow as educators. In response, our educators have collaborated to prepare seminars and materials to address common issues.
Craig Duffy, Academy for G.O.D. teacher, presented on the topic of performance. If you’ve ever seen Craig Duffy teach (or watched him perform in a play) you know that performance is a part of who he is. The classroom is just another stage for him to perform — this time to a group of eager kids. Kids forget they’re learning amidst the different voices, gestures, and storytelling techniques that he utilizes.
To demonstrate these methods, Nathan Cameron and he performed an exercise to the delight of the teachers. First, Nathan got up and told a story in a monotone voice, lacking any facial expression or movement. Then, Craig came forward and told the same story, but this time — with different voices and accents, jumping around the room, and reenacting the story. We then had the teachers practice the same exercise. The room erupted in laughter as they practiced these techniques. Craig reminded the teachers that if they don’t engage with the material they are teaching in an expressive way, then the students certainly won’t care. If they exert energy and excitement, however, students will respond accordingly.
After this activity, we gifted each teacher with some school supplies, as well as a copy of “Resources.” Resources Magazine is a publication that teachers from our Academy collaborated to produce for other teachers around the world. It contains a wealth of articles with tips, tricks, and ideas for the classroom. It has now reached all four of our regions, translated to the most commonly spoken language and contextualized for each region. We were so happy to give supplemental resources to these teachers to help them develop their skills.
As the seminar concluded and we shared a meal together, there was much buzz in the room among the teachers about different ways to consider implementing teaching strategies and how collaboration can increase as they serve the students together as a team. It was evident that all of them were passionate about their vocation as teachers. We are so thankful for their service as teachers and eager to continue partnering together to serve students in Leyte.