Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba….I’m Lovin’ It!

Term 2 has begun.  Classes are in full swing, and so am I.  Every time I step into that classroom  I reaffirm my belief that teaching is my destiny.  It doesn’t matter how horrible a day I’m having, or how the learners make me want to pull my hair out.   I still absolutely loooove teaching.  My kids, though misguided and crazy at times, are fantastic!  They are truly good kids. 


I think I’ve been too emotional about teaching, though.  I’ll admit, I’ve cried several times in front of the kids.  It’s devastating to see such potential being wasted.  I tell my kids several times a week that they all have the potential to pass school and be successful in life.  And I fully believe it as well.  The problem is that they don’t.  They’ve had so many teachers that don’t show them respect, that I felt that showing them that I cared so much about them that I’d cry about it would help them see they were worth it (and no, I wasn’t faking the tears to manipulate them, they came naturally).


But maybe I’ve been too emotional with them and not parent-y enough.  Every Friday night I show a movie.  I use this as a way to give the kids something to do (instead of sneaking around doing naughty teenager-y things) and also as a fundraiser for the library.  My prefects and I decide how to use the money to help the library be a relevant and beautiful place for them.  Previously I bought some books when I was in the capital, but due to an amazing donation from a school my mother works at, reading books will soon not be a problem!  But that story is for a whole different update.  Stay tuned for the arrival of 600 books!!!!! 


Back to the Friday night movie.  One of my prefects, while we were talking about various things, asked if I would listen to some advice of his.  Of course I would.  I would be a hypocrite if I asked them to listen to my advice without listening to theirs as well.   He told me that I cried too much, and that I needed to be more firm with the kids.  I also gave too much trust.  I replied that I gave my trust on purpose because I wanted these kids, many of whom have never had the trust of an adult, to see that someone believed them to be good people.  His response was that they talked about me in the hostel, and about how I would leave all my things out for them to take.   And it’s true.  Several of my things have gone missing.  It makes me sad, but then again, I should have also tried not to assume these teenagers were perfect. 


So, from now on, I am going to be the tough, yet caring, teacher, who shows the kids that she loves them by being firm and strict.  No more tears from me!  And, all my supplies will stay locked away so as not to taunt my kids into taking them.  Though I still believe it’s only a select few that would steal from me.

I don’t care how many times I need to reevaluate my teaching methodologies, though.  I know that it will take me years, no, decades, to perfect it.  I will change how I approach kids both as people and learners.  I know that I will cry sometimes (now in the safety of my home, not the classroom) because of things that happen at school.  But I also know that I will love every second I am with those kids.   Nothing will every change my mind about how I feel about teaching. 

If I walk away with only learning one thing during my Peace Corps service, it’s this:  I am a teacher.  It is not my career, it is who I am.  And every day I teach is a day that I love my life.

So thanks, Mom, for suggesting that while I was lost in college.  Best advice I’ve ever received.

Here are some photos of me with my kids.  God I love them!!!!
Me and my boys!

Trying to look tough but failing miserably!!! I'm more confused than anything.

Gotta do the Namibian pose with my girls!

Another thing I love is my housemate.  She is 63 years old, and a (almost) retired Namibian teacher.  She has been teaching for over 30 years, and has been a principal as well.  Now she's at my school, helping out with our life skills classes and counseling.  I am so thankful to live with her.  She is a godsend.  Without her I am sure I would have been lost during my first few months in the country. 
Every evening we sit down and just talk.  Most of it is teacher talk.  You know the kind, where all teachers ever seem to talk about is school, what happened that day, and how to be better.   She has so much knowledge and patience.  Had she been anyone else, she probably would have been fed up with me and my constant questions.  But no, she is amazing!  We can talk about anything.  There is nothing too taboo to talk with her about.  And she's not afraid to tell me when I'm doing something wrong.  I wish more people would do that!  It'd help me adjust so much faster. 
I thank every higher being I can think of that I live in the same house as her.  If I could, I'd adopt her!  Or get her to adopt me!  Somehow we'd be stuck together for the rest of our lives!

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