Crystal Polski applied for the Teach With Africa GTI Educator Exchange fellowship because she wanted to expand her professional network to include teachers from South Africa, she was eager to learn with and from them about how they are working to meet their students’ needs and support them to create student-centered learning experiences that are rigorous, relevant, and engaging.
At the GTI Axis Summit, which hosted about 291 teachers from all over South Africa, Crystal had the wonderful opportunity to present about Creating Questions for Change. She facilitated about 100 teachers in her workshop to learn a new strategy to engage with students and increase student voices in the classroom. The GTI Axis Summit is designed as a community of practice, where all voices are valued, encouraged to participate, and where every attendee can make a contribution.
During her time in South Africa, Crystal was placed at LEAP Science and Maths School in Diepsloot, where she was paired with a teacher to work collaboratively. “I have been paired with Mr. Dube, a history teacher, at LEAP 4, who teaches the Grade 8 class. We have already taught some classes together and I am going to be leading one lesson on my own soon. I have taught on the scramble of Africa many times before in the US, but it took on a different meaning with me being on the continent and discussing colonialism. The students posed different ideas about the differences between physical and psychological colonization.” she said.
“I want to strengthen the established relationships I have with South African teachers so our students can engage in collaboration over the 2019-2020 school year. I want my high school students to think about and connect with young people outside of their community in a different part of the world.”
Watch Crystal Polski’s short video which sums up her 1-month fellowship experience here:
In partnership with Teach With Africa, the GTI Educator Exchange programme aims to facilitate an authentic platform for fellows and their South African hosts to learn from one another, improve their instructional practices, and shift the international engagement paradigm from one of giving and taking to co-creation and sharing. In addition to professional experience and expertise, GTI seeks to recruit Fellows who are excited by the potential of the programme to be a truly transformative experience, personally and professionally.