Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This Week's Spotlight~ Samantha Codes: "Reach One, Teach One"

Meet Samantha Codes. She’s been an educator both domestically and internationally for the past 11 years. Her interest in the science behind how individuals learn and her love for interacting with each learner on an individual basis has led her to teach in classrooms from Baltimore Maryland to Guinea, West Africa. Samantha has been blessed to both teach and learn from students who range in age from 6 weeks old to eighty-two. During her teaching career, she has taught pre-kindergarten/kindergarten, 3rd-8th grade, ESL and GED.  Samantha is also the creative brains behind Kindezi Care Early Learning Program located in Baltimore, Maryland.

My Greatest Accomplishment to Date Has Been:
When I think of my greatest accomplishment, I think back to teaching in Guinea, West Africa. I was selected to teach English in Guinea when I was 23 years old. I jumped at the once in a lifetime chance to live, teach and learn on the continent of my ancestors and endured my year long tenure despite not knowing a lick of French (the national language), often being without electricity or running water (we lived in a “rural” area) and not understanding many of the local customs. That year was a rough one, but despite doubts and feelings of sometimes wanting to turn back, I excelled in the classroom and was able to learn French from my students as I taught English. When my year of teaching was over and I was on a  two-month bus tour of many countries in West Africa (Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo and Morocco) my eyes misted to receive emails from former students letting me know that 97% of the 400+ who were in my English class that year passed their national exam. That accomplishment was theirs. The fact that I decided to stick it out that year, and in the process, make friends and have experiences that could never be replaced -- that accomplishment is mine.

The Most Challenging Thing I Ever Experienced:
The most challenging thing I have ever experienced (and I am still experiencing on a daily basis) is homeschooling my first (and only) child. We had no idea what we were getting into when we decided to take turns staying home and homeschooling our daughter. She is currently 4 years old and reads on a 3rd grade level, writes poetry, knows how to use a dictionary, can add, subtract and multiply and can swim 200 meters (front or back stroke). We (my partner and I) always agreed that with our combined teaching background (he is an aquatics, mathematics and martial arts instructor); we would homeschool and nurture our child’s innate talent. What we were not prepared for was just how much she would be able to absorb, analyze and make viable connections about her world at such a young age! She keeps us on our toes more than we ever expected – and we love the challenge!

Most Valuable Lesson: 
I think one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned came to me while hiking in the Dogon region of Mali. That was the first time I’d ever been hiking/rock climbing before and I must say that I was somewhat duped into the situation. While clinging to the side of a steep mountain, I internalized the mantra, “You can (and you’d better) do it!” I try to pull that scenario to the forefront of my mind whenever I meet a challenge. It helps me to remember that if I am confronted with an obstacle, it is because I have all of the tools necessary to go up, over, under or around it (even if my tools need a little sharpening).

Final Remarks: 
I am thankful and feel honored to have been invited to tell a little about myself to the BOND, Inc. family. It’s truly beautiful to see all of the effort put forth by the organizers and volunteers of the organization with the sole purpose of uplifting and educating women. I love being an educator and I appreciate having a forum in which to promote my business and talents. I look forward to learning more about the many women doing beautiful and positive things in and around Baltimore.

Kindezi Care Early Learning Program serves families who have children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years. Kindezi Car Early Learning Program also service families who homeschool and need additional care options. For more information visit them at www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kindezi-Care-Early-Learning-Community/150989288318958 .

BOND Inc Spotlight features ordinary African American women from all over who are doing extra-ordinary things.  If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, send a request for more information to iambondinc@gmail.com.

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