Whistler Secondary School may let out at the end of June, but that doesn't mean Grade 9 teacher John Hall is taking the summer off.
The math and science teacher will be leaving for Tanzania on June 26 with Education Beyond Borders, a Canadian NGO dedicated to closing the global education divide through teacher professional development and community learning.
Hall has been interested in volunteering internationally for some time, and when an email dropped into his inbox a few weeks ago with a last-minute chance to work with elementary and high school teachers in the East African nation, he jumped on it.
"I really just want to get out there... and work alongside teachers in other parts of the world to see what I'll learn from them, and also what they'll gain from us."
Hall will be joining seven other teachers from across Canada on the six-week trip that will see him assisting in curriculum development and teaching methodology, delivering supplies and other educational resources, as well as working alongside instructors once the Tanzanian academic year starts in July.
"Our main goal will be to train teachers to carry this work forward in their communities using what we understand as our best practices in current education, and taking those forward to help others carry that out in their areas as well," he said.
"It doesn't have to be specific to, say math or science necessarily, but about how you can teach anything with creativity, collaboration and getting the kids really involved."
Tanzania has seen a flood of students enter its public schools since the federal government eliminated mandatory tuition a decade ago, Hall said, which has resulted in a growing need for educators — many of whom begin teaching straight out of high school without adequate training or resources behind them.
"That isn't far removed from education as we knew it (in Canada) as well," Hall said, "so we want to go support those teachers and give them the ability to really educate and become leaders in their communities."
Staying in line with Education Beyond Borders' mandate, Hall stressed that the process must be a collaborative one.
"I'm not going there to make teachers, I'm going there to work alongside colleagues," he said.
"We know in B.C. that our teachers are amongst the best trained in the world ... but public school teachers also believe in a really strong focus on social justice and giving every child the same opportunity no matter where they came from or what their background is," added Hall. "I know I can take the same attitude towards teachers from somewhere else as well; that we really have to understand where people are at before we can even begin to understand what will work best."
For more information, or to donate, visit www.edcationbeyondborders.org. Donations can also be directed specifically to Hall's efforts.