We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
Today’s blog post comes from Chris Obermeyer, a teacher at Cardozo Educational Campus in Washington DC. Over the course of the year, Chris and his students have engaged in a virtual partnership with teachers and students at The Carter Academy in Bangladesh. Chris has spent the last week volunteering at TCA, teaching English and training teachers in using technology in the classroom and incorporating group work more effectively into their teaching practices.
The Confluence of Two Rivers
By Chris Obermeyer
It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been here for 6 days. I have very much enjoyed my time in Bangladesh and wish that it could continue for much longer.
The people I’ve met are absolutely amazing and have made my stay here life changing. I was very nervous at first but all my worries were lifted the moment I stepped into the classroom with the students. Although they stood up when I walked in and they waited to be seated until I gave them permission, I very quickly realized that these students were just like mine in the United States. They have talents, skills, passions, fears, and aspirations. We have played games to improve their English and through lessons guided by the students learned how to introduce each other and utilize technology in their classrooms. During evening free time we have talked about music and movies and discussed world politics in addition to learning a few new terms common among US students like the use of “on fleek”.
The teachers are inspiring and we have spent a lot of time getting to know each other. We have discussed their methodology in the classroom and how to create more student focused activities that involve technology. Many of the teachers spent their day off taking me many kilometers away by taxi and boat to a place of natural beauty where the main rivers in Bangladesh meet.
I couldn’t help but compare the two rivers meeting and beginning to blend together as the water moved down stream to my experience here. The people here represent one culture and I another. While we come from very different sources and bring different things as we meet, we must blend together as we continue downstream onto bigger futures. I’m very excited about the rest of my time here at the Carter Academy in Chandpur, Bangladesh and will miss everyone here deeply as I go back to Washington, DC.