Saturday, June 18, 2011

Term 2

Well where to start? I have been offline for about two months now and it honestly just feels so good to be typing on my own laptop again… maybe not the same one but hey its mine and it’s pretty. Today I got the package of a life time. A massive box from my sister with not only my life saving laptop but a million snacks and treats! I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for her. It’s almost impossible to get anything done here, especially if it’s something back home, for example say purchasing and shipping a laptop a couple thousand miles. I am completely reliant on my sister back home for everything from filing taxes to getting stick deodorant. So thank you sister and family who make this happen for me while I’m here.

A lot has happened since I last wrote, most notable term 1 ended, I went to Early Service Conference, and term 2 has begun. Toward the end of term 1 it was becoming more and more apparent that school was really not going how I wish it would. My classes were constantly being canceled and I was always being asked to step out to do some typing or cover for an absent teacher. I had made my schedule flexible and been super relaxed about school because I didn’t want to cause too many waves right off the bat. On one hand it did smooth over lots of relationships and racked me up some good credit but it meant I wasn’t getting to do very much teaching. I was starting to miss home a lot and just the freedoms and choices of living in America. I started doubting my effectiveness and my purpose for service. My negative experience at school was starting to give me a negative outlook on my service in general. Did I come all the way to Samoa to read in my room and do the occasional typing job? This has completely changed in the first two weeks of term two. I am teaching my own classes, I have made a concrete schedule and am sticking to it every day, even if it means I have to say no to other teachers… something that is not very Samoan. I have thrown the Samoan scheme from the early eighties out the window and am using the ESL materials that Peace Corp has given me to and creating my own curriculum. The difference is astounding. Not only am I a million times happier and more fulfilled, I am being more effective. My time with the students has doubled and the new lessons are a huge success. At the end of the day I realized that being a good volunteer is not about making everybody happy and like you. It’s about doing what you need to do. Now is it easier to get things done when you are liked? Yes, so I don’t regret my term one choices, but I have paid my dues and done my time. Term 2 is about me finding a way to do what I need to do. I can already see it is not only going to be good for my students but good for my mental health.

I know there will be more dips and low points in my journey but I am happy to have found the solution to my latest one. I think or should I say hope that things will just keep getting better at school. In turn my purpose will become clearer and my contentment which is a constant balancing act will be fortified.

1 comment:

  1. Hola Rachael: Soy un docente en Santa Marta, Colombia y admiro la labor que desarrollan los miembros de Cuerpos de Paz alrededor del mundo, especialmente en el campo educativo. Seguiré con interés sus publicaciones.

    Hi, I have been visiting your blog. ¡Congratulations for your work! I invite you to visit my blog about literature, philosophy and films:

    Greetings from Santa Marta, Colombia