We Appreciate our Teachers!
We want to take a moment to appreciate our amazing ICRI teachers here in the U.S. and in our international programs in Africa and Asia. Our innovative teachers work diligently inside and outside of the classroom to ensure that students are provided with the best environments and guidance they will need to thrive and be successful in their lives.
ICRI teachers play multiple formal roles within the school environment and amongst the children. This can range anywhere from educator to supporter to caregiver. Below are some examples of roles our teachers play:
Educator and Caregiver - Teachers are critical to the daily developmental learning and personal care that takes place for each child within a school.
Catalyst - The teacher as catalyst plays the role of providing a spark for new growth and learning.
Scaffolder - The teacher, on a daily basis, works to construct, deconstruct or scaffold the work of the child.
Questioner - The teacher observes children and asks open-ended questions that do not require a “right answer.” These kind of questions, that do not seek to place ideas into a child’s head, but rather find out what is already in there and allow for the child to be right, no matter the answer and creates a remarkable launching point for a child’s development
Challenger - The teacher also plays an important role, especially for some children, as a gentle challenger to the child’s daily process. They work to very gently to encourage and support children in understanding their own inner and outer strengths.
Biggest Fan and Supporter - The teacher, in the end, is an advocate for every child in their program.
(To learn more about ICRI’s Philosophy on the roles teachers and students play you can visit our website at https://www.icrichild.org/early-childhood-education-development)
In places where children have experienced the effects of war, poverty, abuse, and/or neglect, our teachers also take on more informal roles and serve as mentors, coaches, confidants, social workers and, even at times, surrogate parents. Teachers often step in and care for students when they are not getting the care and support they need. They are pillars of light encouraging the children and providing them with a safe and loving space.
There are so many ways in which our teachers give to their students every day and without asking anything in return. They are there because of their passion, love, commitment and the joy that comes from serving children and families. It is almost impossible to properly thank or even to fully grasp everything they do, but we try! We want to give a special thanks to all of our teachers and highlight some of the amazing work they do.
Inside the Classroom
Teachers in our programs work to positively impact children through their profession. On a daily basis they organize, lead and manage classrooms to provide children with activities that promote their comprehensive development through games, arts and crafts, music, storytelling, and outdoor activities. In areas where resources are limited, our teachers often find creative solutions to engage students with common items that can be found in the home. This helps ensure that children have the opportunity to continue learning when they are outside of the classroom. In this way teachers become experts at creating projects utilizing found objects and local materials.
For example, teachers will lead a community art project where students come together and discuss what type of art they’d like to create together, brainstorm the steps, and then utilize mud, paint or local dyes to craft the drawing or sculpture. In turn, the students are able to practice their collaboration, cooperation, fine motor and art skills to create a beautiful piece of art together. These art pieces are then hung up around the walls to remind the children that the classroom belongs to them. In addition, ICRI teachers consistently work to create activity zones in each of the classrooms that incorporate and reflect true local culture and are informed by the children’s interests and inspirations. Our teachers are constantly thinking outside of the box to encourage their students to expand on their skill sets.
ICRI teachers work to create a strong culture of confidence and trust amongst their children. They lead various activities and ask open ended questions so the students can easily express themselves and also learn how to interact positively with one another through respect and care, including those children living with disabilities. ICRI teachers also provide coaching and mentoring support to other teachers so that everyone is constantly learning to expand their capabilities.
Outside the Classroom
Many of our teachers stay after school and host or create after school programs for our students who need extra help. Our teachers go the extra mile to not only provide our students with quality education but also develop programs to support their students in the ways they need outside of the classroom.
For example, in counties in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a disproportionate amount of young women affected by HIV. These young girls often face social stigma and isolation from their communities. This can result in lack of confidence and self-esteem for the young women, impacting their likelihood to be successful or stay in school. However, our teachers will create a loving, compassionate, and supportive environment for the girls inside and outside of the classroom so they are in a safe space. It allows the girls to ask questions, be themselves, be treated equally, receive counseling, tutoring, skill building, small business training, and peer-based health education to be empowered in their lives. In turn, these young women build the confidence they need to stay in school and have a successful future.
Parent Education & Engagement
In addition, ICRI teachers are constantly incorporating opportunities to teach children effective communication practices, provide positive reinforcement, and create meaningful experiences. In order to assure that this continues when the children go back home, all our programs also include a quality level of parent and community education and engagement.
For example, in Ghana our teachers invite parents and community members to the school to visit their children, share their experience, and learn how they can continue these practices with their children at home. Every day our teachers utilize Emergent Curriculum and their generous hearts to nurture and support every child, but also to ensure that families are empowered to support their children in healthy ways.
We Appreciate Our Teachers
It is because of our amazing teachers that we are able to provide our students with quality care, education, engagement, and support in order for them to succeed in the future! At ICRI, we do many things to show our appreciation for our teachers.
At our schools in the East Bay California, parents of each child bring in one flower for each teacher during teacher’s appreciation week. The flowers are often hand-picked from their gardens at home and by the end of the morning drop-off, each teacher has a beautiful mixed bouquet of flowers. We sometimes even schedule a traveling masseuse to come in and give each teacher a 20-minute chair massage or we provide them with other treats such as their favorite drinks/candies or even eye masks.
See some of our teachers in action through various ICRI programs!
Our teachers are the backbone of our programs, creating unique, innovative and high quality environments that encourage and inspire each student. We are so grateful to them for all of the work they do throughout the year!