For a year or so now our school has been involved in Tanzed's charity work by becoming a partner school with a school in Tanzania. In October, staff from our school travelled to Africa to meet the teachers from our partner school and spent a week decorating a classroom, sharing resources and learning about the Tanzanian way of life.
During a week in June two teachers from our partner school came to England to spend some time in our school. I have to say that it made me do a lot of thinking about how I take so many things for granted.
The teachers spent much of the week in school visiting classes and working with the children. They came to watch a lesson I taught, working on frisbee skills and playing ultimate frisbee with the class. Our visitors' faces began to smile as they could see the simplicity of the game and the possibility of creating new games with the frisbees. The children insisted that we gave them some frisbees to take home with them.
We had various old laptops in school which are no longer used by staff as they are too slow. We arranged for our technician to strip two of them down until the basics (an office package) and a few educational programs were on there. The school bought two digital cameras for our partner school. It was wonderful to think our visitors would be returning home with two laptops and two digital cameras - I try to imagine what a difference this would make in their school.
A local company made a significant donation by purchasing a full football kit for the children to wear in Africa! Our own school kit was purchased in 2007 and various pieces have gone missing over the years. I'm confident that in three years time the African kit will be completed and cared for.
We had an evening to celebrate our visitors when all local schools who have taken part in the scheme met together. One of our visitors made a speech and he said how privileged he was to come to our country and said how much he had learned! I don't think he realised how much we have learned from their appreciation of everything and their desire to make education better for their students!
Over the week I learned how lucky I am to work in a school which is resourced and is able to offer the children an excellent education. But I also realised how important it is to not always rely on these resources - an enthusiastic and engaging teacher is what really makes the difference.