01 Apr Love, Hope and Math in Ecuador
by Andi Green, Instructional Coach at Martin Millennium Academy | Tarboro, NC
There is something powerful and grounding about standing at the center of the world. Something that makes you reflect on what is at your core. Teaching is at my core. It is my what, student learning is my why, and I recently found an inspiring organization that is helping me to grow my how.
Through a serendipitous series of events, my path crossed with Teachers2Teachers Global. Global teaching is their core! Empowering teachers to impact student learning is their why, and connecting teachers around the world to excellent resources, engaging activities, and powerful professional development is their how.
In February, T2TGlobal brought together a group of 18 math educators for a week of work in Quito, Ecuador. Traveling from Brazil, Canada, the US and Ecuador, we visited six different schools, spending time in classrooms in the morning and then offering workshops for teachers in the afternoon. Each workshop was informed by the morning observations and created with a focus on three areas:
- students being able to communicate their thinking
- the power of using visual tools in teaching math
Amor y Esperanza = Love and Hope
I visited a school called Amor y Esperanza, an amazing place that truly embodies the love and hope in its name. Walking into the school and meeting the co-founders, Pancho and Pitty, is like receiving a hug from an old friend. In one three-story building in a slum community are 14 teachers for preschool through 11th grade, dedicated to supporting approximately 300 children who otherwise would not have access to an education.
Over the week we were able to build relationships with students and staff as we joined their daily classes and then offered five different STEM workshops in the afternoons. We fell in love with the students, whose learning was the subject of much discussion. We all grew as educators as we shared strategies that would enhance their mathematical understanding. Since we know that the best learning takes place in the context of meaningful personal connections, T2TGlobal’s model of observing, discussing, and then learning together provides that opportunity to forge relationships. Therein lies the transformation that occurs!
Adding It All Up
Later in the week, T2TGlobal and Alliance Academy hosted a math conference for all the teachers in the partner schools. It was an exciting afternoon of growth. We were expecting 100 participants and were thrilled to have 140 educators overflowing Alliance Academy’s lunchroom. Allow me to repeat—140 educators chose to spend their afternoon doing math! As someone who was new to the T2TGlobal family, I saw this as a true testament to the dedication of the local teachers, as well as the partnerships built by T2TGlobal.
I joined this T2TGlobal experience because I have a love for teaching, a love for math, and, of course, a love for travel. I reflect on this experience with love and respect for T2TGlobal, and I have hope for a future of educators grounded in professional development. Changing the world, one relationship at a time.