Meet Tara Schwitzman, a dedicated young teacher in the School District of Philadelphia who was one of eighteen students and educators from around the country who traveled to Ghana, West Africa, on the ThisWorldMusic/UMass Amherst Drum & Dance Summer Study Abroad in Africa. That experience is helping her connect with students like never before.
“Last year I was thrown into [a school] in…North Philadelphia, as an emergency certified teacher without any resources or education background,” recalls Tara. “I struggled for months, trying to figure out how to reach my students, who have faced more turmoil in their 10 years of living than I will ever know.”
“Last summer I went to Ghana to learn more about the music and culture that appeals to them. It is incredible the amount of respect my students now have for me. More importantly is how much this music and dancing is bringing them together. Seeing an all girls, fifth grade class come together with respect and work together to achieve a common goal makes all the difficulties of teaching in this setting worth it.”