Through EngenuitySC’s partnership with Richland One, the first Teacher Discovery Day was held in June of this year and introduced international teachers in the district to some of the incredible personal and professional resources Columbia has to offer. The success of that June program has led to an anticipated five more Discovery Days for the 2019-2020 school year, with the first held on October 16.
October’s Discovery Day impacted 21 Richland One teachers, all within their first year at the district and hailing from home countries including India, Argentina and the Philippines. During the day-long event, the teachers toured Riverfront Park, experienced the SC State Museum’s planetarium and 4D theater, took a civil rights walking tour of Main Street with Columbia SC 63 and visited Richland Library. These teachers gained a greater appreciation for Columbia’s past and present while making connections with one another and with the staff at each tour stop, ultimately leading to increased knowledge of resources they can use to ease their own transition and to better serve their students.
Another component of EngenuitySC’s work with international teachers is conducting workshops in conjunction with the University of South Carolina’s Dr. Gloria Boutte. These workshops help teachers respond more effectively to their students living in poverty. Childhood poverty in the United States looks very different compared to childhood poverty in many international teachers’ home countries, and there are often unexpected behavioral and academic challenges that come along with this. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from these workshops is the importance of teachers – and all adults who have influence in the lives of children – recognizing and valuing the strengths that each student brings, regardless of what is lacking, thus empowering students to grow into a potential that they may otherwise have never seen for themselves.
EngenuitySC is honored to work with such a dedicated and talented group of international teachers, and we look forward to seeing the impact they will have on the students in our community.