It has been a week since we kicked off the program with the teachers here, and it has been quite an adjustment for me. First of all, I feel like I am officially working part-time. We are hiring Manuela to work an additional day in the house to care for Cohen so that I can have the freedom to work with the schools on Thursdays. This has been different for me. Even though I have always played an active part in the ministry here, I have either been pregnant, nursing, or tending to a toddler. Now that Ana and Maggie are in school and Cohen is weaned, it seems that I have entered into a new phase for my ministry role here in the library program... and I love it.
I am in contact with a professor I studied under at Harding who teaches staff development conferences all over Arkansas. I am basing my entire curriculum of reading strategies on some books that I bought in his class. I skyped with him last month to talk about our program and get some feedback and advice on how I was doing it. He told me that if I want to see results in this first year I need to have as much face-to-face time as I can with the teachers. It is a modeling system. I model for the teachers, they model for the students, the students model for each other, and hopefully, by that point, the majority of students can use the reading strategies independently. I have taken his advice to heart, and I have coordinated a class visit with each of the teachers once a week and a monthly meeting for all the teachers to come together and discuss and share what has worked for them throughout the month.
It is all very exciting. I am enjoying the curriculum planning, I am learning more and more about the Peruvian methods of instruction (ways I can learn from them and suggestions for improving upon what they do), and I am developing a whole new set of relationships with Peruvian women that are share a common passion with me—teaching children. I had a one-on-one meeting with a teacher this week that asked if I might have extra time to meet with just her outside of class. She expressed to me that the teachers are not given much support and don't have the opportunities for staff development. She really appreciates the opportunity she is receiving through CUDA and considers it a huge blessing to her work. That made my day, and it opened my eyes even more to see that the children aren't the only ones lacking in educational support. We will serve such a purpose in providing staff development opportunities for the teachers. Something I know I took for granted in my home country.
As I learn, I hope to journal my thoughts and share with you all back home what is going on. It is an exciting road that we have started, and I look forward to the ways in which God uses this work to bless the futures of many Peruvian children. Please pray for the teachers and directors that I will be serving beside: Rosa, María Rosa, Betty, Graciela, Erasmina, Nadia, and Mariela. Thank you for your support and the prayers you have lifted on our behalf before this time.