We invited 27 community leaders (pictured) from the conference to join our leadership team for a one day, special leadership training. As they broke up into small discussion groups, they came up with ideas for how they would use the curriculum in their communities. They committed to teaching the curriculum after school, on Saturdays and during camps. They claim their churches will be like a school…they will have classroom instruction there. At the same time, they will praying they can reach teachers in the public sector. One former teacher said she was going to go back and be a teacher again, because now she feels she has the tools to make a difference!
For the first time in Central Asia, we were able to introduce the Elementary Units of the DreamMaker Curriculum. A member of our staff and an elementary specialist, had break-out sessions for the elementary teachers. One teacher said she has an hour in which she can teach morals and ethics in her homeroom class. She was glad to receive the completed elementary lessons and eager to start using them after the conference. She shared, “My children will love this, with all the practical illustrations and projects. I love the magnifying glass to show how each of us is unique and different.”
In a recent trip to Cuba, every day brought 120+ to our doors. They were a mixture of government school teachers and church and community leaders. The churches helped provide vans to go throughout the communities and bring the participants to the meetings.
They all came eager to hear what we had to share. During our team debrief at the end of the first day, everyone was unanimous that the level of excitement and anticipation we saw on this first day was unlike most of our conferences. The hunger for what we were sharing was evident. As they were constantly taking notes, they were also eager to talk and discuss issues prevalent among their young people and learn ways to solve them.
In March I was able to return to Central Asia; it’s been a couple of years since my last trip there. Two hundred teachers attended the two conferences. A central theme in our plenary sessions is sharing how worldviews are formed and how our view of the world affects decision-making. The teachers all attended on their week off from school, so it was a real sacrifice to be there.
One of the teachers mentioned she had a meeting in the afternoon and wouldn’t be able to come on one of the days; but after the first day, she decided to cancel her appointment and stay. I thanked her at the end of the day and she said, “No, I thank you. Now I feel like I can help my students. You pour into us so we can pour into the students.”
As we began, a number of teachers had no idea what a worldview is, how it impacts the way a person lives their life, and even how a teacher teaches. The talks and discussion made it clear, and they were excited to know how to evaluate their own philosophy.
Late February began a hectic journey to very different cultures and opportunities to reach teachers. In Ecuador, I was privileged to visit some schools using our curriculum. The teachers, involved with our conference last July, 2016, were implementing actual lessons. One school has 1,900 students at all levels (K-12) working through the Dream Makers curriculum.
We enjoyed seeing students interact during the lessons and share their journals that illustrate each lessons. They are required to share these journals with their parents and discuss them—it is actually homework. While there, I worked on initial set up for our upcoming July conferences in Quito and Guayaquil. We anticipate 300 teachers will attend in each city.