AP NEWS

Humble Elementary teachers provide professional development in Guatemala

July 20, 2017

Humble Elementary teachers traveled to Chimaltengo, Guatemala, to provide professional development to teachers at Mi Especial Tesoro, or My Special Treasure school, this summer.

After visiting Mi Especial Tesoro on a previous mission trip, Cathy Whitaker, reading interventionist at Humble Elementary, was determined to help the school in a different way. Mi Especial Tesoro is a school of 130 students with a staff of 13. The students live in poverty and many of them work alongside their parents sifting through trash at the city dump every day. Between the partnership of First Baptist Humble and Humble Elementary, Dee Dee Horn and Whitaker, mission coordinators, were able to offer an educators’ mission trip.

Whitaker was joined by five Humble Elementary bilingual teachers in Guatemala to share teaching ideas and strategies with the teachers at Mi Especial Tesoro. This trip was the first of its kind for several of the teachers.

“The teachers received us with an open heart and were extremely receptive to our help,” said Abby Saenz, third-grade dual language teacher. “We worked together with the teachers on strategies, small groups, and differentiation for the classroom.”

During their time in Guatemala, they visited the city dump, where a majority of the students of Mi Especial Tesoro work and the original site of the school. The local teachers only make about $300 a month and do not have opportunities for continuing education, so it was important for the Humble Elementary teachers to share various teaching techniques to use in the classroom.

“Although surrounded by the need and poverty in the school, the teachers were so full of love and patience for their students,” said Illeana Cedillo, fifth-grade dual math and science teacher.

Before the trip, the Humble Elementary teachers held a school supply drive, collecting six trunks of resources for the teachers and students. After arriving, they used some of those resources to model lessons, small group and behavior options.

“I was thrilled to see our teachers have the opportunity to share their teaching expertise with these young teachers,” Whitaker said. “We will be better teachers at Humble Elementary because of this trip.”

The teachers have returned home with a new found passion for missions, and they have plans to stay in communication with the teachers from Mi Especial Tesoro throughout the school year.