On December 28th, 2012, American and Ugandan teachers flew in from all over the globe for an orientation to Invisible Children’s Teacher Exchange Program (TEX). TEX, which began in the summer of 2007, is a program that allows Ugandan and international educators to form teaching partnerships while exposing their students to a world outside their borders. International educators team-teach in northern Uganda each summer for six weeks, and, in a reciprocal exchange, Ugandan educators travel to the United States to partner with an American teacher and co-teach in their classrooms. Through this recent particular exchange, six Ugandan teachers traveled to the U.S. for the opportunity to live and work with a partner teacher for one month.
Recognizing the opportunity for professional and personal growth, the month kicked off with an orientation that started with a workshop for all participants to re-imagine new possibilities and potential for themselves, their students, and their communities. This had participants jumping feet first into discussions and creative activities by tackling questions like: What are the stereotypes that exist about Americans and Ugandans that stifle our perceptions of one another? What does it mean for an adult to grow? In what ways do I want to grow? In what ways do I want my community to grow? How can I use this exchange to practice new ways of thinking and bring that to my American and Ugandan communities?
At the close of the orientation, the American host and Ugandan teachers flew to the host’s cities, to spend the rest of the month teaching and learning with American partner teachers. This 32-person collaboration will surely impact thousands more, because to support the growth of a teacher is to grow every student they teach for the rest of their career.
We’ll be publishing updates throughout this month which may or may not include TEX participants hitting the beach, roaming through downtown San Diego, seeing Shamu at Sea World, and dancing through the night on New Year’s Eve. And if you’ve never seen someone experience snow for the first time but always wanted to, then repeatedly stop what you’re doing and check back here.