IST (In-Service Training)

The Math & Science and Deaf Education groups met up in Nairobi for 9 days for IST (In-Service Training).

The best part of IST was seeing everyone again and sharing our experiences.  It was nice to learn that I’m not the only one who deals with certain frustrations and problems….that it’s not something wrong with me and that they usually stem from cultural misunderstandings/confusions/bloopers/whateveryouwanttocallit…..

We also ate a lot of good food!  Hamburgers, fajita, milkshakes, pizzas, sandwiches, chocolate, etc.  I also got to go to the Giraffe Center with a few other PCVs to feed and pet some giraffes!  😀

Basically we attended workshops from 8:30 am (some mornings it was 7 am) until around 4 or 5 pm.  See the list below for the workshops that we were required to attend.

Our Counterparts (e.g. fellow teacher, headmaster, or deputy headmaster) also came for a couple of days.

–Opening and Climate Setting

–PCV Report Outs (We talked about some common problems that we face with our Counterparts at school.)

–Safety and Security

–Kenyan Economy/Vision 2030

–Economic-Political Consult/Consular Section Briefing

–Grant Writing

–Secondary Projects, IGAs in Schools (We had a guest speaker who showed us how to cook using solar power…cool stuff.)

–WWs/IOE (This is the program that connects my classroom to a classroom in America through letter writing and emailing.)

–Continued Language Learning Support (Finally got a Dhluo manual so I can start learning some Luo words.)

–Vaccination Boosters (I didn’t have to have any…yay…and still got a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup out of it.)

–VRF (How to write our trimester reports in addition to our monthly reports.)

–Enhancing Teaching Methodologies and Improvisations with Counterparts

–Peer Educators

–Come Back Healthy

–Mental Health PCMO (We all were disappointed that this workshop was so short.  We only had an hour to discuss concerns and potential solutions in a structured and safe environment.)

–Introduction to HIV and HIV Epidemic Profile in Kenya

–Life Skills

–Behavior Change Communications (BCC).  Why Behavior Change?

–The Education Through Listening Model.  Steps of ETL and Practical Examples on Behavior.

–BCC Intervention Strategies/Techniques Groups Opportunities Group SEssions.

–BCC Games.

–Working Together (We were once again disappointed that this was so short.) Basically our Counterparts came up with a list of concerns and us PCVs also came up with a list of concerns.  It was fascinating to see the cultural differences.  For example our Counterparts feel that us PCVs are too easy and gentle with our students whereas us PCVs feel that our Counterparts are too tough with corporal punishments.  Our Counterparts complain that we “disappear” during school hours when we complain that it’s too loud in the staff room so we go to our house to work on lesson plans in between classes.  Our Counterparts thinks we’re selfish when us PCVs are tired of always being asked for money and stuff.

–Identifying Issues Surrounding HIV/Health Life Skills

–Skit about HIV Issues

–PEPFAR/VAST Grants

–Gender and Development

–VAC Elections

–Scavenger Hunt

–ISK (International School of Kenya) Visit.  Basically this is the school where embassy kids go to.  It’s a bit wild….I met a few 3rd graders who have already lived in 3 or 4 countries.  This school is the complete opposite of what a village Kenyan school is like.  It costs between $18,000-25,000 a year to send a child there.  The school also follows American curriculum so it was refreshing to see critical thinking being encouraged vs copying facts from the blackboard.

–Conflict Resolution/Mediation

–Helping Skills

–Teaching English and Sign Stories

–Discipline in Schools

–Community Outreach

–Reception at the County Director’s house.  Delicious food!  He lives in one of the richest neighborhood in Kenya so again it was bizarre going from that one day and then being in my village the next day.

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