It's the end of week one!
The week one of school, that is. Classes began on Tuesday and it was probably one of the best weeks of my teacher life. I have an excellent homeroom, we started new wonderful routines that everyone seems to understand and follow, my new 5th graders are lovely and sweet, and I am just absolutely in love with how things have been going.
I have some work this weekend, but I don't feel overwhelmed by it. Sometimes it makes me feel like if I'm making some sort of small difference in at least one of my students' lives, I'm doing my job.
I remember when I was younger, maybe around 8 or 9, possibly 10, and my parents had gotten us some old desks from my elementary school when the school had bought new ones. They put them in our basement, hung up two chalkboards, and complete with old textbooks (I guess the school got new ones of those, as well), I would play School. I would write with different colored chalk on the boards, "call" on my "students," answer problems, read out loud, and do all of those teacher-y type things that I thought were awesome. I remember many days thinking that I wanted to be a teacher, but as I grew older, those thoughts flew out of window and got replaced with "horse trainer," "veterinarian," and "journalist." Some time during my studies for my master's degree, I realized that my initial thoughts of what my career was going to be was coming back into my brain.
After taking a class for teaching ESL, I fell in love with the idea that I could teach people English - something that I am really good at - and help them with something that they wanted to do - and maybe, in the grand scheme of things, affect and/or change some lives. My original idea was to head off to the Peace Corps to teach English in some country that no one had ever heard of, but after a turn of events (meeting my fiance), Honduras seemed to be my calling. First, I thought that my expertise would be with adult learners (which I thoroughly enjoyed working with in the USA) but after switching jobs and signing a contract with an elementary school, I knew RIGHT THEN that my true career was teaching English in the primary grades. It sometimes saddens me that in order to teach primary in the US, I would have to go back to school (again!) to get my teaching license, and thinking that it won't be a viable option for over one year, I will have to learn that I can make the same sort of waves with older students that I can with my sweet 5th and 6th graders.
Teaching overseas has taught me many lessons, mostly about myself. When I was younger, I was really shy and not even close to self-confident. But when you teach, and especially when you teach kids, you MUST be confident and project self-worth. Many of my students look to me for personal advice, many of them come to me crying about a problem or a situation, and many times I am the only one who can give them that one hug that will make the pain disappear for a moment. I never have felt nervous teaching, I have never felt unsure about myself. I have always felt that I CAN and WILL be the teacher that they learn valuable and useful lessons from - inside and outside of the classroom - and that for years from now, when they are much older and I'm already back in the US with kids hanging off my hips, some of my students will still remember me as their sixth grade homeroom teacher or their 5th/6th grade English teacher or the teacher who helped them solve a problem/issue or cheered them on during a sports game.
And years from now, when I'm back in the US with kids hanging off my hips, I'll look back at this almost 2 years in Honduras, and remember all of the good times I spent with my fiance, but also all of the times that I spent at school fielding questions, comments, concerns, and laughing my butt off at something hilarious that my student came up with on the spot.