PHOENIX — A group of local teachers are heading to Ebola-ravaged Liberia for a 10-day trip, where they will train local teachers on classroom management, lesson planning and teamwork.
The Global Resource Group is leading its fourth teacher training trip to the West African country. The group’s founder, Brant Nyhart, is making his ninth trip to Liberia. He said that many teachers lack basic training. Some of them didn’t finish school themselves as the country was overtaken by two civil wars that started in 1989.
“They’re all very passionate, they are just lacking some basic skill sets,” Nyhart said. “One of the things that is so fulfilling is when we go back on subsequent trips. They tell us how they’ve implemented what we’ve talked about on previous trips.”
“They’re very enthusiastic, they’re always working, they’re asking questions,” said Kelly Haarala, a Fountain Hills Middle School teacher who is making her fourth trip to the West African country. “I think that just everyday hardships tend to get in the way of them doing their jobs.”
One of those hardships was Ebola, a disease that ravaged the country in 2014 and 2015. Nyhart said it really strained the country’s education system.
“Schools were shut down,” Nyhart said. “They were doing everything they could to keep people from congregating to try and stop the spread.”
Nyhart and his wife Anna were in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, just a week before the first announced Ebola case in that country. Anna Nyhart, a private music instructor, is making her second trip to Liberia. Last time she led a music clinic. This time, she will be participating in the education seminars.
“They’re so hungry to learn,” she said. “It’s just really cool to see them just soaking in all of the knowledge that we bring them.”
Back in 2013, all 25,000 applicants to the University of Liberia failed the entrance exam. Brant Nyhart said he hopes they can make a difference with each trip to the West African country.
“We believe to have a lasting impact we must partner with locals and work to establish skillsets that will sustain Liberia over time,” Nyhart said.”