The worldwide Augustana College experience

Jamaica: Great Huts 2 & Alpha

So my plan to blog after the Great Huts was a complete fail. However, there were still some interesting things that happened. After those first two days at the huts, we spent a lot of time traveling around and visiting different beaches. After going to the blue lagoon, the group went to Hanna Banana. Even though the food was fine, I had a much better time just walking around before we got our meal. 8 of us went and walked around the streets to try and find something interesting to do while we waited. We ended up buying some oranges from a street vender who looked no old than 12.

After staying at the huts, we traveled through the mountains to get to Kingston. Event though the road was rough and there was much complaining, the trip was awesome. It’s hard to describe just how beautiful and peaceful it was once you stepped out of the car. Greenery was everywhere!

Finally, we arrived in Kingston! As fun as the off time was the most important aspect of this time was devoted to teaching, so I’ll skip those other details.

Day 1: So after going over plans of what we are going to do for the day, I’m super nervous. I woke up in the middle of the night freaking out because I think that I have forgotten some important detail. So basically to summarize, I was shitting my pants with nerves. Once we got to the school, the first three periods did not change my feelings, I was completely boring to the students and I was rambling. The following two periods went fine only because it was repetition from what I did the previous period. Looking back the final period before lunch went the best of the three. For the first group I had too much time, the second I didn’t have enough time and the third was just right. But still at lunch all I could think about was just how bad the lessons were and how boring it was. I felt that the kids hated me and that they would be falling asleep in my class by the end of the day. Once lunch had passed, I proceeded with my final two lessons. These lessons went fine, but both classes struggled and we didn’t get as far as Tyler and Katie’s classes. Also at the end of the class I felt that the kids were still a bit confused and were struggling with all the material I had presented them.

Once back at the hotel, I went through a range of emotions. My first thoughts were that I was never going to be a good teacher. I had failed these Alpha girls and I was never even going to make it through student teaching. I was that student that basically made it and then just dropped the program, teaching program, because I made the wrong decision. Then I started to make future plans in my head. One idea consisted of me just getting a math major and going to school for another 4 years to become a professor. Another had me adding some sort of business major like accounting. After this major freak out, I came to some sense and just decided that for the next 2 days I would teach the lessons in a different manor. I would be that teacher that the students got excited to see and I would keep their attention one way or another.

Day 2: Today I woke up much more relaxed and confident in my lessons. After talking to Jenna, Abby, Tyler, Susan and Katie, I decided to teach all of my lessons a little different than I initially planned. Instead of doing a bunch of work on the board, I would do some examples on the board and then do some also on the floor with the tiles and masking tape. This plan couldn’t have gone better. The girls responded beautifully and after some math and jumping on chairs, I felt much more confident in my girls skills with transformations. The day went so well that my homeroom, 504, taught me some dance moves before we left!

This day lifted my spirits. The day before I was in such a dark, sad place and today I felt on top of the world. This was why I wanted to become a teacher. Not only did I help my students learn, but I also had some fun with them! For only 2 days of work we had come so far and I couldn’t have been happier.

Day 3: After some intense lessons planning the night before and some series note taking on my part, I felt beyond confident in my lesson for the day. The lessons with Susan’s girls went well but working on the CXC problems with my girls went fantastic! We took a quiz and I don’t know if it could have gone me much better. Without grading the quizzes, most girls seemed to be cheering as I put the answers on the board and I only heard a few groans.

After finishing the lessons for the day, since today was a half say, the girls put one fantastic assembly! They sang, danced, and even taught us to dance as well. But the most inspiring moment of this assembly was when Mike got up to the mic. His speech to the girls was amazing! You could really tell that he never left Alpha. His passion for these girls and their school was really and he was proud of it! I hope that once I become a full fledged teacher, I can present a speech like that and have those feelings towards my school.

After all was said and done, I couldn’t have been happier with my trip to Jamaica. It’s going to be really hard to go back home and tell everyone what happened. Not only did I teach some girls and have a good time, I learned a lot about myself, how to teach, about the Jamaican culture, and most importantly I made a difference at that school. For a few days I helped these girls catch up with some of their schooling and we had fun doing it!

Leave a Reply