The premise of Double Me is simple: matching your skills with the needs of others. This has been brought into sharp focus following my visit to some of our partner schools and teaching colleagues in Uganda this summer. There are great and varied needs in schools in East Africa and we have skills that we can share.
We are privileged in the UK with the training that we get as teachers. You may have completed three years of a B.Ed course, or maybe like I have, a one-year post graduate course. Since qualifying we have been mentored through an NQT year and undertaken hours (and sometimes it does feel like hours!) of ongoing CPD. Not all of this is enjoyable admittedly, however it has hopefully challenged and changed us; equipped us; prodded and poked us to reflect and refine our practice, ultimately improving our teaching and thereby the opportunities for the little darlings we teach (you can tell that this is being written in the holidays…how some memories can fade!)
Sitting at the polar opposite end of this spectrum of teacher training, lie countries like Uganda. Teachers are given minimal, basic training and once you’ve started, CPD is unheard of. As a result teachers feel undervalued and face numerous challenges throughout their career, unsupported.
Double Me passionately believe in sharing our skills to impact Ugandan teachers and improve the life chances of the many hundreds of children they will teach during their career. It’s not because us ‘Westerners’ know better, but that we have been given the support and development they so desperately crave. Something that we can so easily share!
Our visit this summer in preparation for a Double Me team visit in Summer 2018 has shown teachers and leaders share honestly their desires for what they would like to receive training in at the Double Me teacher training conferences. Areas requested frequently by those that we have met include:
• behaviour management
• understanding how children learn
• games for learning
• managing staff
• motivating teachers
• financial management
Don’t worry if you’ve never led any training before – these are the things as teachers and school leaders that you do day in, day out. Whether you’re an NQT, retired teacher or somewhere in between; have experience in nursery, primary, secondary or special needs education, you have the skills that Ugandan teachers are asking for.
Go on, take the plunge and sign up to be a member of the Summer 2018 Double Me team and help equip, support and inspire a generation of teachers and their pupils.
James is a deputy headteacher at a primary school in Basildon, Essex. He first joined a Double Me trip in the summer of 2015 and returned to Uganda this summer to help prepare for the visit by Double Me in Summer 2018.