At Edify, we often talk about the impact our programs have and the transformation that is taking place in the lives of school owners, teachers and students. We know that a quality Christ-centered education changes lives and is the best pathway out of poverty. But how does the work actually happen? We invite you in to take a look at a “week in the life” of one of our program directors to see the daily activities that take place to create the long-term impact.
Karla de Pineda is Edify’s Country Director in Guatemala. She is a courageous, innovative and thoughtful leader who is using Edify’s model to transform her country. As you read about a typical week in her life, consider the cultural differences and challenges she faces daily and the solutions her team is developing.
Monday: Newness & Coffee
Buenos Días! It is a new week and I am thankful to wake up to the newness of what lies ahead. With my cafecito (coffee) in hand and dog, Albus, I view the sun rising and the beauty of the Guatemalan mountains. I am hopeful for what I will see in the week ahead.
On Mondays I typically try to avoid the craziness of traffic and work from my home office, getting ready for the week. My role is to support all of the programs and innovations of our work here in Guatemala, including training, reports and ongoing activities. As a team we create an annual calendar of our trainings for each region or “zone” we work in. We distribute this calendar to our partner schools because want them to know our support is ongoing. Currently, we serve 203 schools in eight different zones in or near Guatemala City with training and microfinance lending. Next year, we hope to expand to even more regions. Every day is something new and exciting for me!
Tuesday: Introducing Technology
This week, along with my two other Edify Guatemala colleagues, I attended an exciting education technology conference in the city.
Just this January, we hired Abner Perencen, who will support our education technology initiatives. Guatemalan law requires each school to have a computer lab, however, we have found that many schools have unused computer labs or do not have access to the internet. To address this, Edify is piloting the use of a Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi has pre-loaded sites and programs that devices can connect to without Wi-Fi for improving student learning—including Khan Academy for math and Scratch (a coding application). We are hopeful for the impact we will see with technology at the low-fee schools we serve.
Wednesday: Early Bird gets the Feedback
Today, our team started very early (with a beautiful sunrise) in hopes we would avoid the heavy traffic. Our day was full as we met with a group of trainers who provided training to five different zones of schools over the past few months. We discussed feedback from the attendees (school leaders and teachers) as well as how the schools plan to implement what they learned from the training. We want to make sure we are serving these schools in the best way possible. We value their feedback to improve our trainings. The next step will be visiting the schools to observe the implementation of the trainings.
Thursday: Doing the Hard Work
Each week, there is time dedicated to fieldwork in schools, with new and old schools. Most of our partner schools are located in vulnerable and semi-rural areas, requiring quite a long drive. During these visits, we observe classrooms, mentor school leaders and look for physical evidence of the learning happening in the classroom through student projects.
It is exciting for us to see how passionate these school leaders are about providing a quality Christ-centered education to their students. We know they are doing the hard work and we are grateful to be a part of it!
Watch a video here for more about Karla’s heart for Guatemala and transforming her country through Christ-centered education.
Friday: Implementation & Inclusion
Part of the support we provide trainers is to help them in implementing the feedback they have received from attendees of previous trainings. Today, I attended a training called “Curricular Adaptations.” The training focuses on how teachers can increase the inclusion of students with special needs and/or different learning levels. The training had 65 participants!
Saturday: Balance is Key
As you can see, work keeps me pretty busy so it is important for me to enjoy time with family and friends on the weekends. Some of my hobbies include listening to jazz and classical music and reading. I enjoy my calling at Edify and I am constantly learning new things, however, finding balance is important. I need to take time to relax and enjoy relationships. Thank you for taking the time to read about a week in my life.
This blog was adapted from a Global Education Leadership article in April 2019 featuring Karla. You can find the post here.
Edify is grateful to have amazing staff around the world, working to improve and expand Christ-centered education in their nation. Edify operates in eleven countries and has served over 4,200 schools. Because every country has different needs, education systems and cultures, our country directors develop innovative ways to serve the school leaders. Read more here about the countries we operate in and our staff around the globe.