This week, Karly Southworth, our Head of Expansion, has some thoughts on the cholera outbreak, and what our team was up to during the delay in school opening.
While the outbreak of cholera delayed the start of schools, the extra couple of weeks with all of the Operations Managers and Teacher Supervisors together in the head office was incredibly beneficial. The thing I most enjoyed was the team building, which helped to strengthen the cohesiveness of the group by improving communication and trust. Each of the skills we focused on can be transferred to their clusters where they are expected to building strong teacher teams.
Communication is an essential part of any professional environment. One fun activity we did had the managers sitting back to back for five minutes with one telling the other what to draw to match a picture they were given. We had a lot of laughs with this one!
Another exceptionally valuable aspect of the time we gained was the chance to work on computer skills. Our site managers came into their roles with a limited knowledge of Office and computers in general. They are appreciative of the opportunity to learn a great deal of computer skills through working with Impact Network. It was certainly enjoyable to see their eyes light up and awe on their face when they learn a shortcut in Excel, Word and PowerPoint. As we all strive for efficiency, it’s often small things, which are second nature to long-time computer users, that make a big difference. Although the site managers rarely have a chance to come together, they are encouraged to keep using and improving their skills and to transfer their knowledge to their colleagues whenever possible.
There was also an opportunity for the Teacher Supervisors from the Expansion and Katete West projects to come together and contribute to the new teacher observation matrix, and receive guidance on effective methods of coaching teachers and tracking teacher performance over time. Their combined experiences teaching and observing in the classroom made for constructive discussions. There was plenty of time for the team to practice using questioning to elicit productive self-assessment. To practice identifying and applying the matrix during a teacher observation, the team broke into groups and performed role plays for the others to assess.
We are thankful all Impact staff have remained cholera-free and we are grateful for the time it gave us at the start of the year. The managers were eager to get back to their sites and confident to apply what they practiced over the extended break!