Overspending for shoeboxes

12 11 2008

Last Thursday I did my biggest training input so far on Glow.  This was to all the team leaders within support services for two clusters within East Kilbride.  I felt they were all really positive and quite happy to take forward the work on passwords, being able to see how it carried on from their work on Seemis.  They were also asked to see how it would be used with the children so I took them through a couple of glow groups.  This then led to them asking if they could have a glow group and I was later (once I found out) able to tell them that one was in the process of being built for support services.

I spent my Saturday morning at a ‘speed net’ event at Holyrood Secondary for the Scotland-Malawi partnership.  It was basically like speed dating, and talking about Malawi in that way was hard enough, I would never be able to speed dating!!!  It could have been really useful but unfortunately there were an awful lot of us there who wanted to find out more and not enough people who had done a lot to be able to tell us, still I might have made another couple of useful contacts!  I was invited to visit the school by the depute head and I think that would be really interesting.  Holyrood and their associated primaries and nurseries raised £75,000 in one year and were able to send some teachers and pupils over to Malawi to help build and/or repair school buildings in three schools.  3 of the pupils involved spoke to us and it sounds like an amazing experience for them.  I then heard from my dad that they also spoke to the Council Management Team involving the Chief Executive and the Heads of Service for Glasgow City Council this week – what skills they will be gaining from this whole experience!

I have been in schools a lot the last week and working with children often too on Glow and that is great.  I am really seeing the enthusiasm grow in the schools I am in and am lucky enough to be working with some excited and willing glow mentors.

It is not only within South Lanarkshire that my face is known for Glow – I turned up at the running club tonight to have one of the guys, who works at a school in Renfrewshire, come over and tell me that ‘I was glowing tonight’!  He had been waiting for a couple of weeks to ge that pun in I think, having seen me on the LTS website.  I was certainly glowing by the end of the session, just getting myself back into it after a bit of a break after the Chicago marathon, meant I hauled myself round the route in what I felt was a very slow pace!  And only for the kids shoebox appeal would I then go to Asda still in my running leggings to spend about 5 times more than I intended to on buying enough goodies to fill 8 shoeboxes.  I actually had a couple of people ask me if I buying stuff for shoeboxes as it was that obvious!  I love doing the shoeboxes or backpacks as it is so nice to imagine them getting them but I always get totally carried away!  It also always totally sickens me though that the world is such an unfair place that we have to be doing this and people are not able to live in the same way we are.  I always make sure I get hats and gloves etc as I can’t bear to think of children being cold.

And lastly I had a lovely pile of thank you nletters arrive from a primary school I did a Malawi presentation on a few weeks ago.  They included things like I was inspirational, very informative, I spoke very clearly (always good to know!) extremely interesting, someone was going to give their sweetie money away and lots more similar things.  One of my favourites (along with the inspirational one) was one that typed and was obviously supposed to say ‘I really appreciated it’ but came out ‘I really parachuted it’!

Watching History Happen

5 11 2008

I have memories of the Berlin Wall coming down and of South Africa’s first universal elections but having only been 11 for the first (I remember asking my mum why she was crying while watching family and friends being reunited before I went to school that morning) and 16 for the second those memories are sketchy to say the least.  I will remember last night and today far more clearly as being a positive and defining moment in history.

I listened to Obama’s acceptance speech on the way to work and more than once the tears were falling, probably the most when he said something about if you were ‘listening huddled round radios in the forgotten corners of the world’ and I was left thinking about everyone I knew in Malawi who would be doing exactly that.  When I was there I was often asked about politics and people there were so excited about the possibility of Obama becoming president.

I hope that as a result of this election at some point if I were to go back to Chicago I would not see the same division between the jobs people had and the places they went that I felt so keenly when I was there recently.  How amazing it would have been to have been there last night!

Reunion weekend

2 11 2008

I have been in 12 different schools during the last 2 weeks, for Malawi talks, rich task discussions and work on Glow.  It has been really interesting going into the different schools, especially the rural ones around Strathaven and seeing how they work in different ways.

The Glow Mentors in each school have been really interested in how they can start to use Glow for learning and teaching and I have been really encouraged by this and am keen to get in and work with the teachers in the classroom.  I now have some times set up in a couple of schools to do this.  I am drinking far too much tea and coffee though from being offered it everywhere I go!

I also did my first CAT night in another school by myself – luckily I was too busy in other schools to worry about it too much before it started.  I was doing the e-beam and easiteach and went through the programmes first and then was lucky enough to have some time left over for them to practice using it.  This was what made the difference I think as they were apprehensive while I was showing a lot of the different things that could be done but giving them the chance to try them out right away would help them to remember it.  I got really positive feedback from it.

Glasgow Airport 27th June

Glasgow Airport 27th June

Friday and Saturday this week I was at the Stirling Managment Centre for our Global Teachers post-placement training weekend.  This was done in a different way to previous years.  LTS have now partnered up with LINK Scotland to do the Global Teachers Programme and so Friday was a nationwide conference for all present and previous Global Teachers, LINK schools co-ordinators and this years participants to Uguanda with SCIPD in partnership between LTS and LINK, as I suppose a kind of launch of this and to allow all of us to begin to network with each other.

Kaye Livingstone and Nick Morgan from LTS spoke to us and then a couple of global teachers.  It was a really positive day I thought as hopefully from this people should be able to swap ideas and help each other.  One of the things we were discussing was Glow.  Nick and I have been working on a few ideas for the national site and I mocked up a Global Teachers group, although in reality I think this would change to include link schools too, so that people could see how they could share ideas and resources that way.  There was a really positive reaction to this, I thought, even though the vast majority of the people there were not even on Glow yet.  I am going to do this, and my children’s Malawi glow group, as my follow up work for Glow and will be able to work with the Link staff on this which will be good as they are really enthusiastic about it too.

In the evening and on Saturday it was just our group who were there, to reflect on the experience and start thinking about our follow-up work.  It was great to all meet up again and share what we had been up to – and we finished at 2:00pm on the Saturday so still had some of our weekend left!  It was somewhat nicer than being at the youth hostel in Edinburgh for our training although we were only at the management centre because it was LTS who organised and funded the conference.

I feel quite strongly from discussions at the weekend that I want to do something a bit more sustainable with pupils in South Lanarkshire, not just going in to do assemblies and then leaving again. I have not quite worked out what yet though!