By Roger O’Halloran
The children in the photo above are bright, exceptionally bright. They are fluent in three or four languages including English, Portuguese, Bahasa and Tetun. Australian teacher Rhoe Price and her Timorese teacher counterpart Jose Maiscoli are giving them every chance to develop into the best they can be and build opportunities for themselves and their country.
Rhoe is not just having a feel-good experience for a few weeks or months. In 2018 she responded to a request to Palms Australia from East Timor, to assist the mentoring and training of local teachers over a two-year period. In line with Palms best practice Rhoe spent her first six months gaining an understanding of culture, language and the strengths of the school community. That’s why two year placements are important.
After six months learning, not just the children benefit from Rhoe’s presence. Now she is able to share appropriate aspects of the teaching pedagogy she had the opening to develop at university and as a teacher in Australia. When Rhoe goes home teachers, who haven’t had the training that Rhoe has, will have had the opportunity to integrate some of that into their teaching practice and students in years to come will still have the chance to become the best they can be.