In preparation for teaching workshops in Uganda, I packed along a photo of our class. I hoped the teachers there would be interested in seeing what a Canadian class looked like and that the photo would serve as a nice ice-breaker into deeper conversation. I was deeply touched when I noticed our class photo being passed from teacher to teacher at the first workshop – with much discussion among the teachers and many questions to me. Most of the participating teachers there chatted with me at some point about what education in Canada is like and shared their experiences about teaching in Uganda.
I was elated when one teacher in particular approached me to ask if our class might be interested in becoming pen pals with his class. Arriving at school this week to get everything set up, I noted an envelope addressed to me from Uganda – of course it is the first piece of mail I have opened! Enclosed was the photo I have posted and a lovely letter from that teacher, Mr. Tumusiime. He has included all the names of the students that have joined the environmental club he formed as a result of our workshop and is hoping that we can match students who can then build a long distance relationship. What a great way to build cross-cultural understanding. This approach will be perfect for us, as he has students participating from K through grade 7.
If your child might be interested in being a pen pal, please let me know and I will match our students with his. We will write some class letters (or send pictures), cards, holiday greetings, etc. throughout the year. Whether children are directly matched or not, everyone will have the opportunity to participate.