Thoughts from a Guatemala Team Member

By Tonya Bramblett

As we prepared our family to journey to Guatemala on a missions trip, I was asked to do some teacher training. I felt completely overwhelmed by this but also felt God had already begun nudging me in this direction. I just didn't feel quite capable and had reservations about my own ability. Still, I agreed, knowing He often gives me opportunities outside of my comfort zone.

When first arriving at Casita we were honored with presentations by some of the classes. The kids did a great job and the teachers were obviously very proud. The classrooms were decorated with fun crafts, and the atmosphere was great for learning. I was able to witness the interactions between students and teachers throughout the week, before the day of teacher training. What I witnessed was genuine love, hope, and desire to educate the kids.  

The night before the training I was so nervous. I hardly slept. I prayed a lot. That morning, I opened my Bible and reread the scriptures God had laid on my heart (Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 13:13). I wanted these teachers to know that the work they are doing is POWERFUL - that these children are going to grow up and change Guatemala and the world because of their labors. I wanted to thank them for investing. What an incredible investment they are contributing to the Kingdom of God.  

I thought that I had prepared a lot, but I had not prepared enough. I intended on speaking about the three main learning styles:  auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. I also talked some about ways to help the right and left brain function and work more as a whole. I demonstrated and had the teachers practice some of these exercises. I reminded the teachers some of the best learning opportunities come from stories. Stories are more remembered when the students become involved. I decided the best way to explain was to demonstrate with a simple tale. We acted out The Three Pigs and laughed a lot. I changed some of the story a bit. At the end of the story I told the teachers that just like the brick house (that was safe and warm for the pigs), Casita was a safe haven for these precious students. We talked about some simple resources that were in their library. I used a silly game, Don't Spill the Beans, as an example of math fun.  

The teachers asked questions. They are thirsty for practical teaching advice and ideas. They want desperately to succeed with their students so their students can succeed in the world. I was pleased with the teacher training - the Lord spoke through me a lot. I wish I had prepared even more. Delmi tells me I have a whole year to prepare for two hours next time, then she changed it and said two days! I have no doubt that the teachers would be game for learning two day's worth of practical teaching advice. I already have a list started on things I will share next year!