Literacy is Lit

When you extend for a third year you can choose to become a PCVL (Peace Corps Volunteer Leader). As a PCVL you do more work with Peace Corps. When I became a PCVL I signed on to split my time between my new school and Peace Corps 50/50. For my first two years I was an English teacher at a primary school. Now, I’m at a different primary school and my title is “teacher trainer”. So far I’ve just kind of made it up as a go along, there are no real guidelines. But this past week things finally came together and I got to do something useful.

Last September I got to go to a Literacy Workshop in Uganda through Peace Corps. Another Lesotho PCV, 2 Peace Corps staff members, and I attended a two week workshop with volunteers and staff from other African countries. There we learned all the literacy things and got to participate in a Literacy camp with future Ugandan teachers. It was by far my best Peace Corps experience. I loved meeting other volunteers and learning what they did and how things worked in their respective countries.  And I got to nerd out over literacy.

Literacy Lab PC Jim Tanton
Literacy Lab PC Jim Tanton
Literacy Lab PC Jim Tanton
Literacy Lab PC Jim Tanton
Literacy Lab PC Jim Tanton
Literacy Lab PC Jim Tanton

Flash forward to this month and I finally got to test out an idea that stemmed from that workshop. In The Gambia volunteers do treks where they travel to other volunteers schools and lead a short workshop on read-aloud. I liked the idea of a traveling workshop focusing on the wants and needs of teachers and Lesotho is small enough for it to work. So I started thinking it over and reaching out to Lesotho PCVs who would be game to try it out with me and after months it finally all came together.
Last week I traveled to three volunteers’ schools and held half day or whole day workshops with them and their teachers. I traveled up to the mountains of Thaba-Tseka and back down into Maseru. Depending on the school we covered phonics, reading, writing, spelling, and Teach Like a Champion. The teachers at the schools responded well and seemed excited at the new information. I also got to see other volunteers’ sites and schools for a day or two and see their experiences.

It turned out great, if I do say so myself. Time will tell if the information expands beyond the workshop and if we can hit those buzzwords like #sustainability #professionaldevelopment #communitiesofpractice 
But for now I’m content that I was able to help create something practical, useful, and awesome that will hopefully continue on without me.

Shout out to Jillian, Lisa, and Katie for hosting me and letting me test this out at your schools. And to Lisa again for helping me out at Katie’s school!

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