I remember when I first came to the DR as a teacher. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to teach without all the manipulatives, books and resources that I was accustomed to having in the US. A wise colleague told me that if I was any good I would teach with the rocks and sticks in the dirt. “Teaching isn’t about stuff.” I took it as a challenge.
While it was hard to adapt, I found my way - often using rocks, sticks and dirt to teach.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the different needs of my Dominican students. Never being in a safe place with their needs met, they reacted and responded to every lesson in the most curious ways.
I’ll never forget using pasta for art and having kids push pasta in their pockets, wash the paint off after we used it to paint texture or wipe away tears when they discovered they couldn’t salvage the painted now wasted pasta. I will never again use food in a way that it can’t be later consumed. I had so many blinders, so much to learn.
That’s the beautiful thing about teaching - our students are always teaching us. Making us better teachers and better humans.
It often feels like holy ground as our voices mean so much in the lives of those hanging on our every word.
Today, we honor each of you in the trenches of teaching - May you be filled with all the wisdom, strength, perseverance and compassion you need to teach those in your care.
May God use you above all else - to Love well!