Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What We’ve Been Doing

Least everyone think we’re just running around visiting crocodiles and fording flooded pathways, I thought I would create a post to explain what our day-to-day work is like. As CES S&I missionaries, our short job description would be to coordinate the Seminary and Institute programs in the Johannesburg South Africa Stake, which consists of eight units (six wards and two branches.)

Seminary and Institute here isn’t like it is in the states where a stake may have two or three seminary teachers that teach all of the students in the stake each day at a stake center or institute building. Here because distances are great even within a ward or branch, there are more and smaller groups. In our stake, we have 16 seminary classes and 9 institute classes. Each of these programs is taught in a separate place, at a separate time, and by a separate teacher. Some are daily; some home study that meet weekly and some entirely home study. Classes vary from a few students to 20 or so. There are many active members who are not enrolled mostly because transportation is such a problem.

We are responsible for training the teachers in an approach that discourages lecture and encourages students to participate in a meaningful way, taking responsibility to both learn and to participate in teaching others. We try to do this through in-service training each month and through one-on-one conversations with teachers, based on our observations or their questions. Most of our teachers are very good, and for the ones that aren’t there yet, we remind ourselves that they are volunteers, willingly giving their time to help young people. We are also working to visit each of these classes, but we still have a few that we need to either schedule or figure out how to visit at the times and places the classes are held. Another part of our work is gathering the monthly attendance reports and recording this in an online system called WISE. You’d think this would be the easiest part of what we do, but it has actually been the most challenging. We might say, “can you scan and email your report?” but we have teachers who have no scanner, no computer, no Internet. Some have phones but not ones that can take and send pictures. Then the system itself is a trick to learn, like any such program, but we’re getting it done and enjoying the experience of being here.

Just as in anything that has to do with teaching, the kids are what makes the effort worthwhile, and we have enjoyed the visits to the classrooms most of all. No matter the dress or the complexion of the students, they are the same the world over. It’s fun to just see them laugh and learn and interact with each other and with their teachers. Here are just a few of the seminary or institute classes that we have visited.  

1 comment:

  1. Fun post Mom. Does this mean the rain stopped?