Mathematics professor Karen Rhynard immersed herself in Guatemalan culture this past summer by participating in the Teacher2Teacher International program.
Rhynard arrived in San Lorenzo, Guatemala with the objective of providing staff development to the pre-K – sixth grade teachers at Centro Educativo El Porvenir. She focused on teaching math, particularly number sense and geometry. She tried to make the teaching as fascinating and creative as possible, so she used hands-on example and projects such as cutting fruit and making geometrical shapes by folding paper.
Most of the students had never seen a piece of colored construction paper before.
“They picked up every last scrap and saved them all,” Rhynard said. “Their faces just lit up when we did the projects. They were so grateful for every single thing they received.”
The students had some different customs, such as brushing their teeth before entering the classroom.
“If you have never been to a third world country it’s truly eye-opening to see what’s important to them,” Rhynard said.
Teacher2Teacher International strives to provide culturally relevant professional development and support in STEM to teachers worldwide. The nonprofit program emphasizes a culturally sensitive approach that encourages student-centered instruction using community learning goals.
“It really was heartwarming to help those in a different culture,” Rhynard said. “They were most gracious.”
As for whether or not Rhynard will return again, it is not out of the question.