February 19, 2018

Ruthline & Gardison

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The following blog post was written by Jenna Cottrill, our Communications Coordinator, on a visit to our partner schools in Haiti.

When I was in Haiti last November on a personal trip, I took one day to visit the schools associated with EduDeo’s partner, CRECH. I was excited to see the different Christ-centred schools that are benefiting from the Walking Together training that Learning Leaders Robert Koole & Fran Joose hosted last year.

I visited 4 schools, the first of which was Foyer Chretien. While there, I visited different classrooms and was pleased to see students eager to learn and teachers presenting engaging lessons. We popped into several classrooms, making our way up the third story building.

The last classroom we observed was the one that has stuck out in my mind.

The physical classroom was very dark, but the teacher’s joy lit up the room. It was obvious that she loved her students, and that the feeling was mutual. She was very animated and had the entire classroom’s attention. In the short time we observed her classroom – she played an interactive game and sang with her students, using visual gestures to teach the concepts of directions (left and right, up and down).

After the lesson was over, I had the opportunity to speak to the teacher. Her name is Ruthline, and she is a young woman of 25 who has worked for the school since September 2017. She was recently trained by the CRECH ambassadors (who were trained by Robert & Fran).

Ruthline adores children and beams when she talks about her students. However, she told me she didn’t always think that she would like teaching. But after a friend encouraged her, she participated in the CRECH teacher training. During the training, Ruthline discovered that she loved teaching and she was very good at it.

When Ruthline started her job at Foyer Chretien in September, she had a little boy in her class named Gardison Gabriel. Gardison was a known as a troublemaker, with very little respect for his teachers or peers. He didn’t like to do his work, and his grades reflected this. Ruthline remembered her training at CRECH, where she was taught to psychologically evaluate the students. After the psychological test, Ruthline discovered that Gardison had “a problem of affection. Maternal affection. He did not know his mother.”

Ruthline, recognizing the importance of maternal affection, paid extra attention to Gardison and treated him like he was her own son.

Fast forward two months, to my visit in early November. Ruthline says Gardison considers her as his mother, and he as her son. She, along with the school’s principal, tell me how his behaviour has completely changed. Gardison is respectful, kind and gets along well with his classmates. He’s also doing much better in school. I asked to take a photo of the two of them together. A few moments after I made this request, Gardison joined us on the balcony. A stocky boy of around ten years, his sweet smile showed his obvious transformation. He came over to Ruthline, who proceeded to “spit-wash” his face for the photo – as a mother does. Their exchange was touching, and it was clear that Gardison held a deep affection for his teacher.

“A good education should be based on Christ. With the Gospel, the children become more wise, they understand more of life, they understand more of God.”

To finish off my conversation with Ruthline, I asked her why she thinks Christ-centred education is important. She answered: “A good education should be based on Christ. With the Gospel, the children become more wise, they understand more of life, they understand more of God.”

The training Ruthline received from CRECH helped her to be an energetic and engaging teacher in the classroom, and to incorporate the Gospel into her lessons. But more than that, Ruthline learned how to care for her students on an individual, personal level – pouring her time and heart into each of their lives – resulting in true, life-changing transformation.

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