A Day Without a Break!

January 5, 2015

Twenty teachers and our TC Team of 11 spent a full and fun-filled day of professional development today at Nehemiah Autism School in Addis Ababa. We divided up into six tables—the five teams—Konjo (Beautiful), Nebir (Tiger), Faris (Beyond expectations), Zoe (Godly life), and Gobez (Good job). I was the MC of the day, that was filled with laughter and hard work.

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The Tiger Team!
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Good Job Gobez Team!!

The day started with calendars presented by Annie and Michael. Sounds fairly simple until we realized everything had to be in Amharic and Ethiopians follow the Julian calendar. Yes, it was December 27, 2007 not January 5, 2015. Everyone was 8 years younger—great for me, but some of our students were only 15! Annie and Georgia created a song for the days of the week in Amharic with hand clapping and repetition. Michael, our weatherman, modified all 70 weather cards into Amharic. Grace, Georgia, and I introduced literacy and math through the name tags after Georgia “MacGivered” a classroom display from tape, staples, and yarn.

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Amharic calendar!

Everyone had roles—Amika, Ozge, and Lisa (“Edmondes”) showed how to use the classroom schedules including how to elicit more interactive communications from the students. Finally, Sam, Rebecca, and Jayne introduced Social Stories and every team made one. It was a real collaboration especially with Teddy, Nehemiah’s project coordinator and curriculum administrator, who interpreted throughout the day including making sure that the concepts were understood by the teachers. Soliana’s family was indispensible as they interpreted at the individual tables—thanks to Eamon, Tutu, Beth, Waldy, and of course Soliana! Berhane Abera, an SLT at Yekatit 12 Hospital, spent the day interpreting and joined in the activities.

Afterwards we debriefed and found so many peaks:

When Kaleb, one of the teachers said that his classroom’s schedule needed to list “calendar” going forward;

How great the Nehemiah teachers were– open to learning, fully engaged throughout the day, with strong foundations to build upon;

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Name tags–We knew the teachers would use these!

When we saw the lightbulbs go off as the teachers began realizing how much the strategies could benefit their students;

How we could see the value of our field—the school had so much in place but was missing the speech-language piece—and we fit in like the one missing piece of the puzzle;

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Collaboration–Adding speech and language–the only missing piece of the fantastic Nehemiah Autism School!

When we realized how well our TC SLP students prepared themselves and did so well making sure our work here is sustainable.

Maybe the best evidence of how the day went was that when cookies and delicious Ethiopian tea were served and everyone was offered a break after hours of work—NO ONE STOPPED WORKING, because no one wanted to miss a minute of what they could learn that day.

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Collaboration and Teamwork. Sharing strategies!

The one weakness—just not quite enough time. It was a terrific day. We will return next week to make sure the materials are used. If they are being used, each teacher will receive a certificate of attendance!

As we ended each scheduling activity—ALEKA!!! (finished)

Cate Crowley


15 thoughts on “A Day Without a Break!

  1. Grissell Filpo January 7, 2015 / 2:00 pm

    Sounds like an amazing day! Rooting you guys on! I love the collaborative work you are all doing. Not only did you incorporate the importance of speech and langauge component into the school but you also learned so much about their culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tcethiopia2015 January 8, 2015 / 4:51 pm

      We love your comments. You would have loved to see their faces when they realized that we figured out something that would allow them to be independent sellers in the market!


  2. ellenashinoff January 7, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    Hard work and fun…what a great combination! Looking forward to hearing about your return visit to the school!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Meg Murphy January 7, 2015 / 4:27 pm

    Congratulations on a successful day at the Nehemiah Autism School! What a wonderful impact you all made on the teachers and the school! Fingers crossed that every teacher receives a certificate next week for using the strategies and the materials!

    Ps. The fact that it is December 27, 2007 over there blows my mind – but what an important lesson to learn – that even temporal concepts must be considered culturally!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jessica Baquero January 7, 2015 / 4:29 pm

    Can’t wait to hear more about the amazing work you are doing there!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. haeunjoychung January 8, 2015 / 7:31 am

    What a wonderful work you are doing there Grace! 🙂 People there sounds amazing too! Hope everyone is having meaningful time!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lindsay Milgram January 8, 2015 / 3:10 pm

    PD Days are my favorite! It’s wonderful to hear about the strategies and tools that you shared! Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. erikaozkan January 8, 2015 / 5:44 pm

    Wow!! Great work TC!! Small changes make big differences, and I love the positive impact you all make! Love the team names and the enthusiasm from the teachers in all the photos. Keep up the incredible work!


  8. John Chung January 8, 2015 / 7:22 pm

    you really looks like a Tiger, who can overcome any enemies around you.

    You are doing a wonderful job for the third world people. So I am so proud of you.
    I pray that your remaining days of trip be safe and joyful. May God bless you.


  9. Gerrit Furutani January 9, 2015 / 4:00 am

    Way to go team Gobez!!!! Such a wonderful sight Amika, and really seems like you are showing them great new ideas for learning.


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