It had been my lifelong dream, as a teacher and a Myanmar ethnic, to one day be a part of the forces that empower changes through education in Myanmar. However, it was the chaos of 2021 that prompted me to finally take action of turning dreams into reality and I joined Teachers Without Borders (TwB) as a distance expert almost a year ago, in April 2022.
For someone who is always passionate about mentoring, counseling and curriculum development, the volunteer role at TwB distance expert for Myanmar was a godsend opportunity for me. Getting to work on the project of my country of birth is really an added bonus.
In my first term as TwB distance expert for Myanmar, I have supported career counselors, counseling trainers and teachers of Myanmar by modifying Career Guidance and Counseling Manual (lower secondary settings) and Facilitator Guide Notes for Trainers by adding localized and culturally relevant materials to the existing content and giving short trainings regarding counseling aspects.
The most interesting aspect was getting to meet teachers of diverse backgrounds from all over Myanmar.
There was never really a dull moment being a TwB distance expert. The most interesting aspect was getting to meet teachers of diverse backgrounds from all over Myanmar and getting a glimpse of their worlds through their windows.
I am constantly astounded by the enthusiasm, resilience and dedication of teachers and colleagues in Myanmar. It is such an empowering and humbling experience having the opportunity to meet these individuals keeping the light of education amidst turmoil with all their might. Being able to assist them in this journey is one of the most fulfilling parts of being a TwB.
Despite being Myanmar ethnic myself, there have been so many eye-opening moments for me during my time with TwB; the ever complex cultures, deeply rooted roles and mindsets, the passions of teachers and trainers alike, how far this project has come as well as the journey ahead, and last but not least, self discoveries as an educator born out of two contrast worlds.
Combining Finnish education perspectives and cultural context
Guidance and Counseling has been a vital part of Finnish education’s success, whereas it is still quite an unfamiliar topic for Myanmar and its education sector. Having the opportunity to approach Learning and Career guidance and counseling topics from the Finnish education sector perspective as well as the local context is not only challenging but also exciting to say the least.
I am constantly astounded by the enthusiasm, resilience and dedication of teachers and colleagues in Myanmar.
What I enjoy most about my tasks is producing meaningful and relatable curriculum materials by combining knowledge and approaches from Finnish education perspective with my background knowledge of local and cultural context.
I recommend TwB to the educators who want to empower other educators with their viewpoints and expertise, who want to learn and be inspired from educators of different cultures and be a part of meaningful and uplifting change of individuals and societies. I am grateful to be a part of this incredible journey and looking forward to extending my time as a TwB expert in the future.