The report card is in and Guangdong Province’s REACH volunteer teachers get an ‘A’! These hard-working teachers put the “A” in Advocacy. They are the core of CWEF’s REACH (Resiliency Education: Advocacy, Collaboration & Hope) program.
What happens when these teachers get together for a retreat? Team-building, mountain-climbing, and a new outlook for REACH’s curriculum. This January, teachers from REACH partner schools in Guangdong province gathered for a two-day retreat in Renhua, Shaoguan, Guangdong led by CWEF’s Dolphin Liu and Lynn Lin.
To kick off their time together, teachers from the different schools got to know one another better by participating in some of the team-building activities which they use with their students! During the retreat REACH teachers also shared experiences, advice, struggles, and activities with one another and CWEF staff in order to enrich the program for the benefit of the participating students.
One teacher shared, “Many students want to join the class. The students were very engaged and involved in the activities. They showed creativity and enthusiasm in the activities, especially when we played games such as ‘guessing emotions’.” Not only did the teachers share their experiences and class ideas with one another, but they also went on an outing to Danxia Mountain for some fresh air and relaxation. CWEF staff enjoyed this special time talking with these kind-hearted teachers.
A main goal of REACH is to involve local teachers who will then cultivate meaningful relationships with students and instill in them hope and confidence for life that traditional subjects and college entrance exam preparation do not cover. This past semester, topics covered in REACH classes included: team work, emotion management, communication skills, and self-image. While at the retreat, teachers shared these student comments on the semester’s topics:
• Team work:
“Before I thought group members caring for each other and helping each other was something that happened only on TV and not in real life. Now, I am so lucky to be a part of a team. I know that working as a team is very powerful; everyone has a good heart, and we can work together to solve our problems and create a miracle.”
• Emotion Management:
“Everyone will have time to be sad and down and we have to develop a good way to manage our feelings. We have to think, ‘Calm down. Why do I have this unhappy emotion? Why am I stressed? How can I solve this problem?’ Then, we can be more effective to adjust our emotion and keep a positive attitude to face our life.”
• Communication skills:
“Now I know how to make friends with others. I know how to better understand what others say. For example, during communication you should listen carefully to understand others meaning well, but we also need to make sure we totally understand—we should not just hear the words they say; you should LISTEN to what they say and understand the purpose.”
“Image can be inside and outside. We can learn and educate ourselves. Our image being good or bad should not depend on others’ opinions or how I feel sometimes. Now we know how we can know more about ourselves and what is a good or bad self-image so that we keep the good things in mind, and improve the bad things so they become better and better.”
Oh yeah, and the students give their teachers an ‘A’ too!
“I would like to say thank you to CLA teachers. You spend a lot of time with us and when I see your happy face I also feel happy.” – REACH Student