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Lake City teachers will assist in Tanzania

Drew Waldbillig (left) and Shauna Groski are preparing to travel to Tanzania to help teachers improve teaching methods. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
Drew Waldbillig teaches a lesson on phases of the moon at Bluff View Elementary School in Lake City on May 10, 2018. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
Drew Waldbillig works with his fifth-grade students at Bluff View Elementary School in Lake City on May 10, 2018. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Shauna Groski teaches students with learning disabilities at Bluff View Elementary School. She is pictured in her classroom May 10, 2018. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

When two teachers work in a school with SMART Boards on the walls and iPads on every desk, how do they help teachers whose students might not even have paper and pencils?

That's one of the challenges that Drew Waldbillig and Shauna Groski from Bluff View Elementary in Lake City will face when they travel to Tanzania in August.

"When we are in a school here," Groski said, "we take it for granted that every teacher has a college degree. In Tanzania, we might work with some teachers who only have a fourth-grade education."

Groski, who teaches students with learning disabilities, is a first-year teacher. She did her student teaching in Hawaii and has traveled to Australia and New Zealand. She loves traveling and jumped at the chance to travel and help in Tanzania.

Waldbillig has been teaching at Bluff View Elementary for six years. He hasn't traveled outside the U.S., but has been interested in learning about teaching at overseas schools. "This experience will give me a small sample of what that might be like," he said.

The two will travel with an organization called Limited Resource Teacher Training from the U.K. LRTT was founded in 2012 in Uganda. It has expanded and has now helped train 3,750 teachers in 10 countries.

"We'll be working in the village of Njombe, Tanzania, for the month of August," Waldbillig said.

"LRTT has designed a curriculum, so we will be teaching teachers for their professional development," said Groski. "There is more than one group doing this, so we will be building on the work that the group before us did in July."

They will live in the Dos Meza Hotel at Njombe village. There they will meet and work with trainer teachers—LRTT calls them fellows—from all parts of the world.

"Drew and Shauna are outstanding teachers that put in the extra time to make a difference with their students," said Jim Borgschatz, principal. "They are adventurous and outgoing staff members that will be a great resource to the schools in Tanzania."

Waldbillig and Groski will fly out July 31 and return Aug. 29. They must provide their own travel expenses as well as a fee to participate in the program. To help with these costs, both have started GoFundMe accounts. Groski's link is https://www.gofundme.com/5bmn84-tanzania and Waldbillig's is https://www.gofundme.com/mrwtanzania. More information about LRTT is available at https://lrtt.org/.

"The elementary staff will be offering financial support as the entire trip is self-funded," Borgschatz added. "Shauna and Drew have agreed to share their pictures and experiences at the start of next school year."

"My students are excited about my travels," Waldbillig said. "We got on Google Maps and looked up the places I will travel. I am excited about the experiences we will have, and the things we will learn."

Steve Gardiner

Steve Gardiner taught high school English and journalism for 38 years in Montana and Wyoming.  He started working at the Republican Eagle in May 2018.  He focuses on features and outdoor stories.  

(651) 301-7872
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