What a wonderful event it was! This last weekend in Biel, the annual general meeting and convention of ETAS, the English Teachers Association of Switzerland took place. Despite blizzardy weather almost 400 people braved the storm to come to Biel.
There were presentations, workshops, publishers' stands, plenary speakers, and a raffle for the ETAS Teacher-to-Teacher project in Matopo Zimbabwe. We collected almost 2,600 Swiss francs! A big thank you to Astrid, the organizer of the raffle, who rounded up top-notch prizes.
I gave a slide show presentation of the current projects we are working on, and half-jokingly challenged members to come with me to Matopo. To my surprise several people came up to me afterwards and earnestly expressed their desire to come and paint blackboards. I might have to think about organizing an ETAS contingent to Africa next year.
If you go to the ETAS website you'll see a nice slide show of the event very shortly.
Thank you to the people who have already volunteered to sponsor a Matopo teacher, and to the newcomers to the sponsorship initiative. I'm truly overwhelmed by the postivive response to this project, especially when you consider that we are not yet out of a recessionish economy and there is no shortage of worthwhile projects in the world...
Schools have opened now in Zimbabwe for the first term. I am sorry to say that things are not looking good. The teachers are supposed to earn $150.00 per month (!) but they don't even always get that. The threat of strike is always present.
I'll be writing a report for the Federer Foundation this month, where at least I'll be able to tell about some little victories. Let's take Roger Federer's Australian victory as a good sign of better times to come.