Learning Through Teaching
Amber Collins is a special education teacher from New York. She traveled to South Africa for the first time last summer, and was inspired by the optimism and pride of everyone that she met. She visited a small village by the Safari Reserve and observed a school that also served as a community center. It was the light of the village. Amber knew that she wanted to go back to Africa and teach at a school similar to the one she had seen. She had the chance to do just that this summer, when she visited Seeds of Africa as a part of the Visiting the World program.
As a special education teacher, Amber believes that every child deserves a quality education that will allow them to reach and maximize their full potential. She was attracted to the education program at Seeds because of its focus on creativity and problem solving. Her own teaching philosophy is centered around respecting the individuality and personal abilities of each child, so she was excited to learn that Seeds uses individual education plans for students.
Amber engaged with the Seeds students by introducing them to new books, conducting read-aloud sessions, leading creative thinking sessions, and organizing phonics exercises and activities. She also met with the teachers to advise them on ways to manage the classroom and deal with difficult behavior.
Although this trip undoubtedly benefited both the students and teachers of Seeds, the person that was truly impacted the most was Amber. The trip became an experience of self-discovery, where Amber examined her own life and her own abilities as a teacher. This trip allowed her not only to teach, but also to learn and grow.
Seeds of Africa’s Visiting the World program brings volunteers with diverse cultural backgrounds and skills together with the children of Seeds. The school opens its doors to welcome professionals, students, teachers, musicians, and artists who travel to Ethiopia and spend time sharing their talents and craft with the students. This opportunity allows all parties involved to better understand different cultures and traditions and learn from each other.