Administrative Roundtable…

As we have served in this beautiful country and have been with these wonderful people, cried, laughed and have been apart of their world for the past seventeen months, we have learned a great deal.  Not only have wee been able to share some of our experiences as teachers and administrators but have also been taught by some of the most dedicated educational professionals we have ever met.  Our students are absolutely sponges when it come to learning.  One example is the Administrative Roundtable that we initiated.  While we have been here in Fiji, the administration of both the LDS Church College and LDS Primary School have changed. The administrative teams have done a tremendous job is setting goals, vision and trying to unite the faculty where they are all moving in the same direction. As with any organization as a new administrative team takes over, there are periods of adjustments and changes that take place.  The LDS Church College has a principal whose this is her first principalship experience, a vice principal with only two years of experience and another vice principal with two years of experience.  The LDS Primary School has a brand new administrative team with a first year principal and first year assistant principal.

As part of our Professional Development of working with administrators we have established an Administrative Roundtable which meets once a month for a period of two hours and we talk, discuss and exchange ideas about administrative practices, problems and concerns. We meet at a local restaurant where we moderate the discussion and exchange ideas with the administrators.  This has proven to be a time when the principals treasure coming together and talk and socialize in a way that unity in LDS Church Schools can be created. We host this roundtable and provide the meal for the occasion.  Fijians are like any other educator, when you introduce food into the meeting they will come…they did come and they have learned many things about running a school and the important things about being a successful leader.

We are happy that we could be apart of this experience!

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2015 Monthly Administrative Roundtable Meeting  

Teaching on our mission…

As we get closer to completing our mission we are finishing up teaching a few courses at both the LDS Primary School and LDS Church College.  We have completed a course called Effective Pedagogy and SIOP (Shelter Instruction Observation Protocol).  Both of these courses are connected to effective teaching practices.  SIOP is more geared to English Language Learners.  We also have completed the Leadership and the Principal course which was a fun class.  The students eyes were opened as to what needs to be done for students to have a meaningful educational experience in the 21st century.

As we write this blog, we are completing an Introduction to Special Education course and finishing a Student Teaching experience with eight students.  During our mission we will have taught seven courses and have had ;numerous professional development experiences with the faculties at both campuses.  Our teaching experiences that been very interesting, fun and challenging.  Our students have been very eager to learn and understand and gain new strategies of how to teach and prepare.  We have been able to provide practical experiences and new learning concepts for them.  It has been very rewarding to see the faculty put those new ideas into practice and watch them have success in teaching.

Here are some pictures of our classes…

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SIOP Spring 2015

Our Effective Pedagogy and SIOP students

Admin 2015 Class

Our Leadership and the Principal class.

 

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Part of our Special Education class…

We have been so blessed to get to know and interact with these educators who are making a difference for their students everyday. They are eager to learn new ways of teaching and their love of teaching is very evident.

 

Finished Two Classes…

This past week we concluded two classes for the teachers here in Fiji.  One of the classes was a SIOP course that helps teachers look at their teaching strategies.  It was an eight week course and very interactive.  The students (faculty from both and primary and college were actively engaged with teaching and demonstrating the effective components of teaching.  A wonderful class for these teachers who have not had many opportunities to share with their peers and to learn from each other.  We have tried to engage the faculty with each other and form a Community of Learning.  The feedback from class members was very gratifying for us as we tried to show new ways of learning for the faculty. DSCF5619

DSCF5622 DSCF5623 DSCF5624 DSCF5625 DSCF5626  The second class we taught was a beginning course in administration, called “The Principalship.”  We had many faculty who took the class to find out what administration was all about.  They were interested in what the principal does during the day.  After the class was over, comments like, “now I know why I do not want to be a principal,” and “that was really interesting but no I do not want to be a principal.”  However, many of the class members who had no interest in becoming an administrator commented that by taking the class they had a better understanding on what the position was like and thought it helped them to become a better teacher and employee. Ah, that was music to our ears…   SIOP Spring 2015 These classes were wonderful to participate in and we hope that learning took place and hopefully we will see some differences in the classroom as teachers try to techniques in their teaching practices.

Mother’s Day…

On Mother’s Day weekend three senior Elder’s surprised their wives with a few days at a resort.  We all went to the Warick Resort along the corral coast.  It is about a two hour ride down the coast and a beautiful ride along the ocean.  We arrived on Friday and left on Sunday (Mother’s Day).  The scenery was beautiful and the people were fun and everyone had a great time.  It was good to get away and relax with our wonderful wives.  Here are a few pictures of the resort and the fun things we did.

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On Sunday morning we got up early and walked along the beach for about a mile and enjoyed the morning breeze, the quiet and picked up many sea shells.  It was truly a wonderful Mother’s Day.

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It was one of those weekend’s that you do not want to forget.

Time is getting short…

Since we are leaving Fiji in August, time is getting short so we decided to walk around central Suva on a Sunday afternoon when there are far fewer people.  These pictures show some of the old English Architecture that this city has as well as some of the modern buildings that have been completed while we have been here.  We also took some pictures along the sea wall that runs about 8 kilometers (approx. 4.8 miles).  That is one of the beautiful rides we take here in Suva. For nine months we were assigned to go to church near central Suva and we drove the sea wall road every Sunday.  It wasn’t the fastest way but it was by far the prettiest.

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On this Sunday, a cruise ship was docked at the harbor.  We think it was from Australia…

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When leaving central Suva and going down the sea wall road, there is beautiful scenery and a beautiful park that many Fijians use during the weekend.

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That is our Sunday afternoon trip in Suva, it is a beautiful place and we have enjoyed the view and the people.  We will miss Suva and the Fijian people when we leave.

This entry was posted on May 17, 2015. 1 Comment

Principal’s Conference…

In early March we attended the Area Principal Conference in Auckland, New Zealand.  This is the second year that we attended. The Area South Pacific Church Schools principals attended a week long conference with many speakers.  The countries attending the conference were from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Kiribati.  The South Pacific Area Office is in New Zealand so that is why we were in New Zealand.  Most of the time the senior missionaries were in the conference with the principals but then there were times when we separated and had sessions just for the senior ITEP (International Teacher Education Program) couples.  Our sessions centered around what we were doing in each country as well as receiving information from BYU Hawaii.  The ITEP couples are all adjunct professors from BYU Hawaii.  Here are some pictures of out conference…these are principals and church leaders who are responsible for educating the children of the South Pacific church schools.  At the present time there are over 6500 students in the church schools of the South Pacific.

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This year we used one of the days to tour Auckland and see a wonderful museum and had an opportunity to have a cruise around the harbor and surrounding area of Auckland.  It was a wonderful day and evening.  Here are some pictures that we took during our tour and cruise in Auckland.  We were on the boat call the Ted Ashby which provided a great deal of information about what we were seeing.

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These next pictures are of a Russian billionaire’s boat that has been in Auckland for about a month.  It costs the owner about $3000 per month for the boat slip.  The owner flies in from different parts of the world and then takes a cruise.  It must be nice to have that much money to travel the world in a boat like that.  They said that there is a crew of 40 that man’s the boat at all times.

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The boat is so big that it has smaller boats housed within the larger boat so the owners can have their personal boat when they wants to be by themselves.  Must be nice…the owner of the boat owns an oil company in Russia.

The next set of pictures are just scenes as we toured the harbor.

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After we toured the harbor we went to the Auckland Maritime Museum and had a tour mostly of the boat and ship industry.

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After the tour we went to a museum conference room and had a discussion centering around the maritime industry and how it impacted the education pro  gram in South Pacific Schools.  Very interesting how the participants connected what they saw with the theme for the schools this year which was to “Embark.”

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After we concluded our museum tour and discussion, we went for dinner at Elliott Stables.  This was a very unique place.  It was a remodeled horse stable in the middle of Auckland.  It has over twenty different restaurants and a central eating area.  You go to which ever restaurant and order and give them your table number and when your order is ready they will bring it out to you.;  They had an international menu as you can imagine with over twenty restaurants.

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After dinner we walked back to the harbor were we caught a fairy boat that brought us back to the other side of the harbor were we were staying on Takapunta Beach.  We had a wonderful day and a great experience.

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This entry was posted on April 5, 2015. 1 Comment

New Years on Kadavu (Part 2)

In our last post of January, 2015 we did Part 1 of our Kadavu New Years adventure and we told you that we would do Part 2 shortly.  Time flies when you are having fun ( or are busy) so we lost time and hopefully you will forgive us.  With that apology, it is now the end of March and a great deal has happened.  However, let us catch you up with Part 2.

Kadavu is a beautiful island a little southeast of the main island of Viti Levu where we are located.  Part 2 will be a travel log of some of the scenry and experiences that we had. You will see scenery of the island as we traveled with the other senior couple who were stationed on the island for about a month.  This is what we saw…

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This was on the way to a village to see some members of the church.  As missionaries we are to visit members both who are active as well as inactive and see how they are doing.  This is what we experienced.

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As you looked out the door of this home, this is what you saw…

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After visiting these members of the branch, we visited a few more families…

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Traveling back from our visits we saw this…people having a party in the forest as well as seeing people just walking along the road.  One was just sitting along side of the road and husking a coconut.

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When we returned to town we were hungry and tired so we went to our B&B which was the nicest place on the island.  Here are some pictures of where we stayed during our ten days on Kadavu…

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This next picture was our dinning room and some of the food that was fixed for us during our stay…

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This next picture shows where the B&B was located.  It was on top of one of the three stores in this small town.  However, the views were spectacular…

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We wanted to visit a family that was some distance away so we discussed with the other senior couple whether we wanted to walk there which was about a 2 hour hike over a mountain through the jungle (which the natives do all the time) or share the cost a boat to go around the mountain ($40 Fijian, $20 US).  We chose the boat ride.  Here are some pictures of that excursion, on the way there, our visit and our return…

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Once we arrived to were the boat could go no further, we started to walk.  We had to walk a little over a mile in the jungle to get to our distination.

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When we got close, we had to cross a river (small) but thankgoodness the water level was low… there were children having fun while we were crossing and they were making fun of us old people…

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A little ways further we arrived at the home of a member of the church.  They have lived here for over 30 years and have raised six children.  When they go to town they walk the two hours over the mountain.  They said that can make it in 90 minutes if they hurry.

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Two younger missionaries accompanied us on this visit because they had been there before.Thankgoodness they knew where to go.

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Before we left they wanted to know if we wanted some coconut milk and some pineapple, bananas and other fruit they get out of the forest.  We had some and they started on our journey back to town.

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While we were on Kadavu we had an opportunity to have a couple of beach parties.  Since cars are a premium for transportation, most people have a boat or access to one.  Each time we went we brought a picnic lunch and snacks to eat.  Here are some pictures of our beach parties…

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After our couple of beach parties we always returned to our B&B with a little more sunburn and appreciation for the experiences we have had on our mission.

We went to church for two Sundays and took some pictures of the meeting house that church members us for services. These are humble surroundings but their faith and spirit is extremely strong. The first picture is the path we had to travel into the jungle to get to the church.

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Here is church on the island of Kadavu, Fiji…

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Then there is the male and female restrooms…

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The Relief Society Meeting for sister…

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Priesthood meeting for the brothers…

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Sunday School lesson for the youth…

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Primary for the young children…

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Evidently a time-out chair for one of the younger members…

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The Sister Decker and Sister Collins giving a primary lesson during Sunday School.

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The branch president has his home right next to the chapel…

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Well as all good trips come to the end, our boat ride home (should take 6 hours, actually took 12) was somewhat exciting but definitely frustrating…we were on cargo ship that had room for passengers.  This was at the end of Christmas break for families so everyone was trying to get back to the main island.  We think the pictures will tell the story of our adventure.

The first pictures show the local transport boats bring passengers in from the outer islands to catch the boat.  Also on the small boats are products going to the market in Suva to be sold.  The drive pick-ups and trucks right onto the boat to transport them to Suva..

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These next few pictures is the seating for what they say is 1st class…we were amazed that people would purchase a seat ticket and then lay on the floor.  They would bring their own mats and spread out on the floor.  It was one big mess.

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It took us 45 minutes to exit the ship as they had the cars and trucks leave first and then some of the cargo.  There was only one stairway for passengers to leave throgh and the picture will explain our frustration.

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There was no way or were to walk, everyone was sitting shoulder to shoulder.  As you can tell, no one had lifevests and if we would have trouble in the ocean, there would have been many liives lost at sea.  Now I can understand when we see pictures of fairies sinking in the ocean in different parts of the world, I know why.  There are no safety rules or procedures, everyone for themselves.

Outside of the cargo ship experience we had a great time in Kadavu.  We had an opportunity to do some missionary work as well as seeing members of the church who are faithful, strong in spirit and working on doing the Lord’s work.  We hope you have enjoyed the visit to Kadavu, Fiji,