About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sweet Kasav ... another humbling leadership lesson from Haiti

Highlight of the day ... after six hours of BlackBerry and leadership training for 40 principals and lead teachers, I had gone outside to wait for our group to be ready to go. A student who had been part of the Laurier ESL program in May (Doody) came through the gates of the school where the training had taken place, greeted me, and shared with me a very special Haitian tradition.

He had a bag in his hand and proceeded to take out a piece of sweet Kasav (a type of flat bread). He broke it and then started eating it. I thought this was strange (you're giving me some bread and you have the nerve to take a piece and start eating it?!) until Jhonel explained that this tradition is one demonstrating trust: Doody had taken the bread and started eating it to demonstrate that I could trust it. If I trusted the bread he was serving me, I could trust him. What a powerful illustration of trust and relationship-building.

There were lots of other successes during the day and many relationships and partnerships were nurtured. But to have a young person illustrate his hospitality in such a tangible way was a great lesson and one by which I was humbled.

Tomorrow we leave Cap-Haitien to return to the Port au Prince area but this is a lesson which will stay with me long after I leave.

1 comment:

Stephanie Ledger said...

Hi Steve,

I just read your "Sweet Kasav" story and I absolutely loved it! One of the things that I like best about working with ELLs is that they continually turn my assumptions upside down. Traveling has a similar effect. I'm really enjoying reading your blog and the international perspectives that you share.