The teacher trainings at True North is a specialized two hour period, where SFSU is able to discuss important topics with the teachers and principals in Vrygrond and Overcome. The training topics focus on practices that are often harder to talk about and tackle on their own. This year we focused on inclusion and positive behavior support (PBS). Having worked in the creches before (on previous trips) I am familiar with the practices, language and activities that are done within the creches. My experience working in the creches helped in preparation for the content and delivery of the information.
Despite my experience in the creches from years prior, I often have to be conscious of the stigma around White volunteers coming into communities of color. South Africa historically has struggled with the “White Savior,” coming into communities of color, and stripping individuals of their cultural practices. This reason specifically is why, as teachers, we enter the creches to model our own practices, not to instruct Vrygrond how to change their own.
In my time here, I spoke with True North and SFSU to pinpoint the best way to engage teachers and principals. Observations and interactions from the student working within the creches were key components to plan and facilitate information for the trainings. There is no point in sharing information with teachers and principals, if it is not relatable to their own practices.
Within the inclusion and PBS trainings, I wanted to highlight the work everyone was doing already, and how it correlated with inclusive and PBS practices. This was celebrated by asking the teachers what they do in their own creches, with children with different or specialized needs, and asking them to model how they would handle different situations. By building up the teachers and their practices, while simultaneously embedding California’s best teaching practices, everyone was able to walk away from the trainings with understanding and confidence.