How does Teacher Training happen in a pandemic?

If you’ve ever wondered how in-depth, practical training for teachers in a township preschool happens in the midst of pandemic – read on! OK, maybe you haven’t ever wondered that! Read on anyway!

Just jump online, host a Zoom Room, Google Meet or Teams – online is the future, you know!?
It is, and every part of us would love to host our training digitally, but that thinking does not take into account the multi-faceted barriers for those in impoverished communities. Our trainees don’t have fancy fibre hooked up in their lounge, or limitless data on their smart phones. They have sub-standard phones, with no data and no income to get more data. Their signal is spotty, and their focus is on other things. Those other things are their most basic needs – food, rent, food. With the closure of schools in March, our trainees (preschool owners and teachers) lost their income immediately. The lucky ones got paid in March but not again, the not so lucky ones… well, it has been a tough year, to say the least.

So while we know that each trainee is desperate to continue to learn and grow, it is just not as straight forward as that in a pandemic. We must first meet their most urgent and pressing needs before trying to connect them to data or online learning.

This story is not just that of our trainees, but of many millions in our country. Students trying to access learning resources being our most great concern. We hope for a better, brighter, more digitally-equitable future for our nation. But until then…we plough on to give hope, support and relief wherever we can.

We were able to provide food relief to each of our trainees throughout Lockdown while their schools were closed. As soon as Level 3 was announced we were able to see their beautiful (masked) faces and give them Covid 19 Protocol training. We provided each preschool we work into with a PPE Starter Pack so that they could open and begin educating children again. Not only does this provide a safe place for children in the community, but it ensures (at the very least) a trickle of income for these women.

Without an income for several months, how could they afford to purchase PPE? How do they find service providers of Covid Training? How do they print the endless screening forms? How do they succeed?

WITH YOUR HELP! That’s how!
Through Botshabelo’s generous donors and support we have been able to pivot and remain strong to provide these preschools, and their brave teachers, with exactly what they need to succeed in this season. And while know we cannot do everything, we have done what is right in front of us to do!

Beyond that, the UpliftED Training Team has dedicated themselves to strengthening Urban Kids (Botshabelo’s preschool). They have trained our own teachers in multiple sessions and topics and are now supporting the teachers and Urban Kids as a whole through training and encouragement.

All of this to say… training teachers in a pandemic is no easy feat. It is an uphill hike filled with the need for creativity, tenacity and strength. It is a good thing that Botshabelo has that in spades!


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