This job has challenged me in many ways, but one of the things that has been hardest for me is not being able to connect with my students. First, you have the language barrier. Then there is the school culture. Students come to school just before school starts and leave as soon as school ends. There aren’t after school activities or other things for teachers and students to be involved in together.
Last year, this really affected me. I felt like I couldn’t get to know my students they way I did at home and I believed that hindered my ability to teach to the whole student. This year, things are a bit easier, because I have grade 10 students and they seem to love everything about me, except when I try and make them do school work and because I’m a year wiser.
I am writing this because, recently I have had two wonderful experiences with my students outside the classroom that have helped renew my faith in this job. On Sundays and Thursdays I have supervision duty on the playground (just a big courtyard) and my grade 12 students have been bringing a soccer ball to school and we’ve played a few times. It has been wonderful! They are hilarious and playing soccer in skirts and sandals on cement tiles isn’t easy!
And this evening, I met up with three of my grade 10 students at the park near our school. They are making a commercial for our Media and Society unit and wanted my help (they needed someone to record the commercial). It was so fun to help them, to see their creativity, their shyness and their teamwork.
These are the moments that keep me going, that help me to remember why I love working with young adults.