My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School Update

Tuesdays are school update days. We are working constantly on school stuff as we are going to be starting up on September 14. I'm constantly thinking about things we need to do to train the teachers, things we need to buy to set up the classrooms at the Freedom Center, and ways to run my classroom (since it will be so different).
Last week, we went to Latae and met with a woman named Letitia who is a trained teacher here in Ghana and has been running her own private school in Latae for the past few years. She has come to join our team for this next year and we are excited to have her on board. She'll be teaching the first grade class (JJ, Miracle, and Michael). I'm glad to have her on my team because I feel like she is open to teaching in a new way (American curriculum) and she is also great at giving new ideas (whew!).
On Monday, we met with James and Gifty (an amazing Ghanaian couple that just have humble hearts for the Lord). We offered them positions the week before to work for our school and we prayed all week that they would accept. It would mean some big changes for their family (they have two kids) as they would be moving with us from Accra to Doryum in October. They ACCEPTED the challenge of coming on as Office Administrator (for James) and a kindergarten teacher (for Gifty). James went to school for business administration, but Gifty is much better prepared for human relations type work. But, she said she's willing to try and learn. I know that she'll be great. She'll be working with Abigail and DK to help them learn English and just basic skills. I think that she'll do better than she thinks she will, but it also means that I will have to do quite a bit of training as to how to teach and how to run a classroom.
Our school is going to look quite a bit different than most schools here (at least for this year until they are all caught up to grade level). We're going to be working completely in small group settings. I will be teaching 10 kids in my class, but their grade levels range from 1-5, and an 8th grader (who will be doing more independent study type stuff). It's going to be a challenge to figure out how it all will work and sometime this week I need to sit down and figure that all out.
Instead of running by grade levels, we are just going to be calling our reading groups by animal names and our math groups by color names. We don't want any of the kids to be discouraged by where they are coming from, only encouraged by what they are learning and how far they have come.
Today, I met with a girl who will be interning with us from NYU. She will be helping out on Tuesdays and Fridays for 5 hours each day, so I am excited to have the extra help to work on classroom prep and to help with small groups during those days. It will probably give me some time to work with the other teachers too. We'll see how it all works out!
In other news. . .
**It's been a joy to have Nina here. Even though we haven't been "doing" a whole lot besides computer stuff setting up for the school, she has been such an encouraging presence during her time here.
**We went for a walk tonight and locked ourselves out of the house. John had to break the lock with a hammer before we could continue on our walk. Full of adventure all the time!
**I'm enjoying hearing news of other people interested in coming to join on this adventure at some point during the year. That's exciting!!
**I get to talk to the Whelpleys tonight. YAY!

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