TFFT works to improve the quality of instruction, resources, and school management to ensure widespread, sustainable impact through training excellent educators. We believe that quality education transforms lives and that teachers and school leaders play key roles in achieving this. TFFT’s Teacher Training Program works to improve the quality of instruction and management in primary and secondary schools. We also ensure that schools are child-friendly, non-stigmatizing, gender-sensitive, and supportive of the needs of orphan and vulnerable children. Over the past 12 years, TFFT has trained over 450 teachers, who will serve more than 11,500 vulnerable children through education.
Pippa and Noah are part of TFFT’s Teacher Training team and work on the ground in Tanzania. Noah is the Teacher Training Program Manager and Pippa is the Teacher Training Program Support Officer. Pippa and Noah work closely together to ensure that our Teacher Training program is as impactful and effective as possible. They have shared what it is like to work as a team in the blog below!
Question: What is it like working with someone from a different culture and background than you?
Noah: Pippa and I come from different cultural backgrounds which has not been an issue for me working with her. But rather it has been a rewarding learning experience to work together with Pippa as I get to know other people’s cultures and grow my cultural intelligence as a result. I believe that despite our cultural background differences, the most important thing is that we are all just people trying to do the best we can.
Pippa: Working with Noah is easy. We sometimes laugh at our misunderstandings or have to carefully clarify precisely what we mean about something, but that’s all that really stands out. I think you have to be ready to be more mindful and patient when working with people who have a background that is different to yours, but those are both qualities that I have been more than willing to cultivate during my time here in Tanzania. And Noah really has helped guide me through getting to know Tanzanian culture very well.
Question: What are the best things about working together?
Noah: Pippa is an educator who has an extensive and practical experience in teaching and learning professionally. This has been a great ingredient to the work we are doing with teachers in Tanzania. Her ability to unpack and share such experience in meaningful ways in a Tanzanian context, has been instrumental in strengthening our approach and implementation of our In-Service Teacher Training (INSET) Program. By bringing our skill sets together, we hope to heighten the impact of what we do.
Pippa: Noah has a very strong understanding of how local government and organisations work and has been blessed with the patience of a saint. This means that few things get the better of him, especially when obstacles are continually placed in our way. His ability to build strong and reliable relationships with the various education actors that our work brings us into contact with is a real asset in our line of work where relationships and connections are everything.
Question: What are the challenging things about working together?
Noah: It has been challenging to help Pippa manage her expectations of our key educational actors and the teachers we partner with. It was really difficult at some points to explain to her how things work on the ground, due to the unique factors that present a challenge in developing countries. But in the course of our engagement with the teachers, schools, and other educational actors, Pippa learned how things work in a developing nation like Tanzania, where there are constrained resources. When she gained a better understanding of this, she was able to better manage her expectations, and, as a result, the direct relationships with the key stakeholders.
Pippa: The hardest part is getting Noah to be actively critical of what I do: he acknowledges my experience and expertise and sometimes gives that more weight than he should, when in actual fact changes and adjustments made in light of his superior local knowledge would make things run much more smoothly, even if I don’t necessarily want to hear it at the time. However, as our professional relationship has grown, the consequent trust built has made this process much easier.
Question: Why do you think you work well as a team?
Noah: Besides our skill sets, we are both passionate about teaching and learning with the ultimate goal of improving the overall quality of education for Tanzanian students. It is our shared passion and purpose that acts as the glue to our strong team of two in our department. Above all, reflecting on our work is fundamental to the improvement of our approaches and the success of our INSERT program as a whole.
Pippa: The bonus of working with Noah is that our core values are the same and we want the same things for the teachers of Tanzania; we want them to love their job, to be appropriately valued by society, and for students to thrive under their care. As a result, we are both incredibly respectful of what the other brings to the team, knowing that we both have expertise that will make the other’s ideas even better, so we bounce off of each other really well. This makes our job less daunting as it could be, but more exciting and rewarding.