As you know, Same Skies has been supporting Refugee Learning Center in Indonesia for over 12 months, and we are extremely proud of the volunteers' capacity to now operate independently and productively in line with our model of self-sustainability and empowerment. However, what you may not know is that we continue to assist the volunteer teachers and management through regular coaching sessions via Skype. Our Coaching Programme is designed to be a forum for the refugee volunteers to individually raise questions, seek clarification and discuss issues pertinent to their respective roles, and is thus far proving extremely successful.
Most volunteers come equipped to the coaching sessions with a list of questions generated from their recent experiences at Refugee Learning Center. These questions range from managing behavioural issues, strategies for teaching particular skills, resource suggestions, clarifying points from prior training and attending to their own English language development. The teachers' reflection on their teaching practices prompted by the coaching sessions, is, we feel, of immense benefit to their professional development, as it is for teachers everywhere.
As most of the teachers at Refugee Learning Center are unqualified, one of Same Skies' aims during the period of support has been to promote confidence in the teachers through providing culturally appropriate teacher training. The coaching sessions further this objective, as we begin all sessions by asking what has worked well in their classes since we last spoke.
It has been encouraging to hear the teachers' speak of successfully implementing strategies covered in the onsite training sessions: "I always do the activities you showed me. I give them opportunities to speak. They were shy like me when you met me, but now, even if just a little, they speak and have fun"
(Adult Women's English teacher).
And they always speak of their love for their students and how much happiness they derive from teaching them: "they're really intelligent, I appreciate them"; "I love them like my children" (Primary teachers).
Then, by discussing their challenges, their confidence also develops through validating their current approaches or equipping them with new skills to address those challenges.
Just a reminder that these teachers are refugees and asylum seekers themselves and they serve their communities on a volunteer basis. The coaching sessions are further highlighting that they do not do this merely to keep themselves busy, but with a genuine desire to teach and help others. Their dedication and professionalism in the most trying of circumstances is beyond measure. Same Skies will be there to support them in their valuable work through the coaching sessions for as long as they want it.
The same offer has been made to the team of Refugee Learning Nest but they have decided that they are prepared to run the centre independently and that they don't need our assistance anymore. We are extremely proud of all their progress, and our committment to them is ongoing, should they ever feel like they need assistance again.