Dr. Kathryn Noel, a professor at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Education, Kathryn as she prefers to be called, has been in education for more than thirty years. She has experience in almost every type of teaching job, including teaching at a high school, acting as a consultant, and working for the Ministries of Education. Kathryn has spent the last twenty-five years helping young, eager university students and professionals become effective teachers in various Faculties of Education.
Solidarity in Action has been fortunate to have hosted Kathryn in Peru for the last two weeks. What a two weeks it has been! Kathryn travelled to Peru to participate in the August SIA program and to lead a conference for teachers. As a result of her having travelled to such places as Sierra Leone, Mongolia and China, students from all over the
world can attest to the high quality of teaching that she expects from them, and she expects nothing less from herself. As a professor, she never says no to an invitation and will willingly drive out to visit a student teaching in a practicum. (As her translator and personal “agent” in Peru, this blogger can attest to her hard work, desire and never-ending work ethic).
Kathryn’s first two weeks were highlighted by leading SIA’s first conference in Estrategias y pedagogicos (Strategies and Pedagogy). Forty teachers from in and around Chorrillos, Lima, learnt strategies to motivate their students through engagement and by using sound teaching methods.
Given her experience, it comes as no surprise that Kathryn would be an integral resource to the Peruvian teachers. However, she never knew she was going to have the experience that she has had.
Kathryn has enjoyed every minute of her experience in Peru, leading conferences, speaking to directors, taking kids on a visit to a park, visiting the Nasca lines, and taking a tour of an archaeological dig. She recently celebrated her birthday in the community of Pacifico de Villa.
Having had an amazing two weeks, Kathryn is preparing for her final week. She is looking forward to her final week in Peru as she has a number of school visits and schools lined up for the upcoming days. Kathryn’s experience is vast and she has immense knowledge and understanding of how to best motivate students. Kathryn is excited to be able to share this time with Peruvians, and she looks forward to interacting with new teachers. When reflecting on her experience she explains that she is “hoping to offer them new things to think about.”
Kathryn was confident that she was going to be able to provide a valuable service to the teachers in Peru, but she never knew how she would be changed by the experience. She is “surprised by the speed with which she has made friends in Lima.” Touched by her experience and driven by her willingness to give all that she can, Kathryn and the Peruvian people are benefiting immensely from each other.
Having had few opportunities to return to a country in which she has participated in international education, this time something is different. Looking for the words to describe her experience, as if the wonderful moments tumble through her head, there is a quiet confidence about her. Her mind is made up. She volunteers a response.
“I have to come back. I have to return to visit my friends.”
One thing that I am sure Kathryn’s past students, whether in London, Ontario or Sierra Leone, and now her new friends in Peru can attest to, when you say “I am in” to Kathryn, you’d better be ready to work. She will challenge you to be your best, while having a heck of a good time!
Fasten your seat belt, because here we go!