Perspectives

Togo — Always at the heart of our lives

By Simone Desilets and Simon Pagé
March 18, 2016

Since our return from this small West African country, not a day has gone by without us thinking about our Togolese colleagues. Memories resurface, floating on the course of our lives. And in our hearts remains a deep sense of gratitude for the month of training and sharing we experienced.

What a wonderful adventure Project Overseas 2015 was! We now talk about this transformational experience to anyone who will listen. Moved by the musicality of the Ewe language and inspired by our Togolese colleagues’ philosophy of life, we have learned a lot from their warm welcome, their generosity and their innate sense of community. We also discovered that we had much in common with them.

The work of training teachers as part of an international cooperation effort was only one aspect of our experience overseas. We facilitated workshops on several topics, including lesson planning, literacy, mathematics through games, and scientific process.

What remains today is the feeling that we have come together closer with our African colleages. Their tenacity, courage, dedication and fabulous energy, despite an enormous lack of resources and support, are exemplary. We are of course separated by distance and circumstances, but ultimately, we are alike and supportive of each other in education, as we share the same passion – teaching – and the same goal – giving every student the help he or she needs.

Since we are back in our classrooms, what we learned last summer with our African colleagues is sometimes resurfacing. We then cherish these precious memories which make us feel like we kept a little bit of this wonderful continent in us. We only had to set foot on their land to see solidarity and friendship grow between us.

Simone Desilets is a teacher with the Edmonton Catholic Schools, and is currently on secondment to the Campus Saint-Jean as a lecturer.
Simon Pagé is a French Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Paul-Kane High School, Saint-Albert Public School District.

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Perspectives web magazine is published by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), a national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations that represent over 238,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada.

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