Woodgrove Teacher Brings Lessons to India

A Woodgrove High School teacher is bringing much-needed teaching strategies to an impoverished corner of Asia this summer.

Sarah Armel, who just completed her third year as a reading resource teacher at Woodgrove, is traveling to Bangalore in southern India through the nonprofit organization Limited Resource Teacher Training, as part of the Global Education Challenge. Bangalore, a huge city with a population of more than 10 million, is in desperate need of professional development for teachers.

Armel will accompany 29 teachers from the U.S., Australia and the United Kingdom on this four-week mission.

“We are going to take over four schools and provide professional development to their teachers and then watch them implement our strategies in the classroom,” she said. “Of course, there will be no technology, limited textbooks, one teacher to 45 to 60 students.”

She’s always had a dream of teaching abroad and wanted to do it early in her career. She said training teachers will have more of a lasting impact than teaching individual classes. “I want to be able to give back and I want to be able to help out.”

Limited Resource Teacher Training has prepared Armel about what she’ll face in India’s schools. One thing the teachers have been coached on is providing constructive criticism without coming across as being critical.

“I’m not here to tell somebody what to do. I’m here to help,” she said. “The other thing that comes into play is how am I going to tell a teacher how to manage 60 kids in a classroom? Something like that seems very challenging. You’re going to have different learning styles and learning levels.”

They’ve also been told not to expect amenities. Water is limited, so they’ll likely turn to baby wipes and dry shampoo to clean up each day.

Her charitable journey has led to some hefty expenses for Armel. She’s had to pay for more than $1,200 alone just for travel vaccinations. Woodgrove students have been her biggest supporters and have helped her raise funds to cover part of the $4,000 trip.

Looking forward to the trip, Armel said she will be a student as well as a teacher.     “I’m excited to bring back strategies from people from the UK and Australia. I think I’m going to learn a lot about teaching and my own teaching methods and leadership skills.”

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