What I learned at Phase III training …

… I am not qualified to be a teacher.

That was one of the biggest takeaways I notched from Phase III training. Our sessions covered testing, classroom management, teaching life skills, material production for teaching aides and corporal punishment. I learned so much from the other volunteers, Basotho teachers and Peace Corps staff (many of whom are former teachers) that I questioned the judgment of the person who thought I could do this job.

But like many of my fellow volunteers, even those were teachers in America, I have good days and bad, success and failures and I could share those. I learned different ways of handling troublesome students and incorporating fun into lessons. Much of what we discussed are things I encountered as a learner and even as an aid in a kindergarten class last spring. Basotho children are taught only one way – lecture and memorizing – so I am realizing it’s good for me to deviate from that and incorporate little games that would maybe not fit in an American high school classroom. The point is to make school fun.

But the biggest idea that I acquired is that this whole experience is not about me. So much of the last three months has been me focusing on my issues and trying to “get through” the day. I am allowed that, though. This job is tough and if I want to do the most I can, I must start with myself and workout.

But that is not why I came here. I have the chance to do something great for someone else and to do that I need to take the attention off myself. Teach that instructor-less class when I’d rather check my email. Invite students to my house for after school study instead of taking a nap or staring into a book. I refuse to “waste” these two years and need to seize opportunities in the community much more each and every day. Embrace the day rather than strive to get through it.

Training was a good refresher for me and I plan to make the most of the last months of the term before winter break. Then, I will reassess again.

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