As our time in the creches is coming to an end, I am having mixed feelings about leaving. It feels like my time here went by so fast, I can remember when I first introduced myself to the teachers. I have finally built a relationship with the teachers at Overcome and Little Angels Educare, but am saddened to leave. I have also had the chance to really bond with the children at both creches. When I walk into the creches with my partner, the children’s faces light up and they began to chant “ Teacher! Teacher!” while running to give us a hug or waving to us. I am happy that I had the opportunity to build a relationship with the children and teachers. This was a great opportunity to step into the lives of others and understand through first hand experiences how people in another part of the world live and educate their young children.
Overcome is a creche within Vrygrond who advocated for a new building and received the rights to own the land their school is on. Through hard work and dedication the owner was able to build a new building for the school where the teachers could provide a place for learning for the students. The owner, Christine, taught me that we have to continue to diligently work and fight for what we believe in. While in the United States, I will make it a goal to begin to speak up on ideas that I feel are important and will make a difference in the lives of the children and parents I will serve.
Collaboration and Relationship Building
Throughout my time in the creches, I would not have been able to support the teachers if they were not open and flexible to SFSU volunteers entering their classrooms in the creches. All of my teachers were very open and excited to have us there to support the schools. Throughout the time in South Africa, I learned about the lives of the teachers and their families and had the ability to share details and information about my life in the states. Being able to be open with the teachers and learn about their lives paved the way for a relationship to be formed. Through the forming of relationships, I was able to begin to support the teachers more and learn where they needed assistance in the classroom. I learned that Collaboration is not always easy. It takes patience, a lot of time, and effort to begin to make changes and support the teachers in a way that is adequate for both the teacher in the creche and me ( the volunteer).
Now that I have finally built the relationships with the teachers, I feel like I am ready to begin working with the teachers on more changes in the classroom. But sadly, it is time for us to leave the creches and begin to fly back to our families in California. I wish I had more time to continue observing and being apart of the changes taking place in the classroom.
However, I am very grateful to be able to see the changes and support of the teachers. Thinking about the teachers from the first day until now, I have seen them grow as teachers. They have began to use the knowledge they learned from trainings in the classrooms. All the teachers I have worked with have a strong passion for the children and our using their experiences and knowledge to teach their children. I appreciate the strong women who I have worked with and learned from in the creches. Until we meet again South Africa.
I will miss my time with the teachers, children, and beautiful people and scenery in Cape Town, South Africa.