Gods Grace to be a teacher
This year I was given the amazing experience of being a missionary teacher in a foreign country. It's been quiet the learning process as I've just graduated high school and have no education in teaching what so-ever. The only reason this is legit is because I am working at an international co-op homeschool for pastor's and missionary's children. Basically, it's a step up from homeschooling.
Instituto Metropolitano Escuela, or IME for short, is located in the beautiful delegation of Coyoácan in Mexico City. The building used to be a house that is now converted into a learning space for forty children. The parents are either able to take part in teaching some of their children's classes or they can pay a larger fee to have their children attending this school. Since my church back home is paying for my cost of living here in this big city, I am able to volunteer most of my time at this school as being a primary school teacher. Which I have found to be the greatest thing ever.
Now working at IME is a really great opportunity for me for a number of reasons. I have wanted and liked the idea of being a teacher since I was very little. I was the annoying older sister who forced her younger brother to play school with her. And the older I got, the more I felt the need to be a good teacher. In my own experience as a student, it amazed me that there could be such amazing teachers and then others that made you wonder why they had chosen this as a career in the first place. I could see the value in my teachers who knew how to make the classroom a relaxing environment and learning an exciting experience. I wanted to be the kind of teacher that made student's lives just a little bit better. I thought maybe I could even make math an interesting subject.
Through helping in teaching Sunday school at my church during my teen years, and through different opportunities my own school has given me, I have been more and more assured that I want to make teaching my career. Of course there was the worry that maybe I wouldn't make a very good teacher or that it was a lot of responsibility and that I might mess up. But because of these different experiences and because I had such a strong desire to make this my purpose, I knew that this was something I should take a step towards.
I have always wondered if God had given me a gift in teaching and this is something that has only been affirmed to me through my experiences growing up and especially during my year as a teacher in Mexico City.
Praise God! Ephesians 4:7 says: Now to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
I know that God has given me the grace to be a teacher. Though I had very little experience going in to this he has given me the grace and the ability that I need to learn quickly and to be able to adapt when things don't go as I've planned. He's graciously blessed me with an amazing mentor to guide me and encourage me and give me new ideas as I take on a task that I felt very under-qualified for.
Now, enough talk about me. Here's what you need to know about the amazing students who had to put up with me for the past eight months.
Bringing glory to God by being what he made you to be.
Soon after taking on the responsibility of being a teacher, I realized that the thing I enjoyed most about my job was brining out the best in my students. When their eyes light up in awe of God's creation, when they are enabled to do something that they really enjoy through my classes, that's when I feel like I've done well at my job.
I have three students whom I get to be their main teacher and in their classroom for most mornings. They are very different individuals and get along like siblings. It took a while, but eventually they've learned how to speak kindly to each other and enjoy the time they spend together in the classroom.
My three students are all very smart (usually smarter than me but they don't need to know that). Layla has a mind that works like an encyclopedia and she remembers exact facts about everything. Her English is impeccable and it's her job to tell the others how to spell a word when they need to know (because I'm seriously no help there). She has a beautiful heart and it's been a pleasure to hear about the things that God has been teaching her. She cares very deeply about her family and friends and always requests for someone else to be prayed for during our classroom devotions.
John Carlo joined us a little latter in the year and I do think he struggles a bit more with his English. But he's very fun loving and he definitely helps our classroom to feel more full. He's a logical learner and, as his friend Edy, my other student, says: ''He's good at stuff.'' He comes from a large family with two parents who have a heart for sending Mexican people as missionaries into the rest of the world. He enjoys telling kids at the park all about Jesus and the gift of salvation.
Last but not least is my student Edy. Edy always has something interesting to add to our lessons. His stories include plenty of great sound effects and dramatic acting. He's never afraid to speak and enjoys making others laugh. He loves to create things and always enjoys all the projects I give the class to complete. He always defends his friends and when we pray together in the morning, I love to hear the way he talks with God.
Aren't these kids amazing? God has put such a love in my heart for them and has allowed me to see the best in them. I know a lot of people back home in Canada were wanting to know if there was anything more they can do to help. I don't blame them for wanting to be a part of the amazing things that God is doing through these missionary and pastor kids. It's always a pleasure to be used by God for his glory. Because it's so evident that my support team has such a heart for me and for the work that I'm doing in Mexico, I wanted to give them a chance to be a part of the work that God has been doing here. I've had this idea on my mind for a while now. It's not something I'm able to do on my own, so let me tell you about this thing I would love to do for my school.
Through out the year, Edy and Jean Carlo have been working on making their comic book series. They've taken many of the tasks I've given them and made it an excuse to build another comic book. And build is the right word here. They go all out with every detail (sometimes forgetting that I'm marking them more on the information then the art they're giving me).
I've been so impressed by my students creativity, including Layla as well who loves art and has written some beautiful articles for English class. It's always special to be able to hold and appreciate the work they've made even if it had nothing to do with what we are learning. And that is because, their work and their creativity is for God's glory. God has given them these amazing gifts. I believe it shows a real love for him when they take the time to make something cool and out of the ordinary.
My students know that I myself am an artist. Although I don't teach art at the school, my creativity comes out a lot in the way I teach and how I set up the classroom. I think colour just makes life more interesting. If I'm passionate and enjoy what I'm learning with the students, then most times they enjoy our lessons as well.
So, I'm sure you could imagine how much it bothered me to find our supply cupboards bare of paint. Early on in the year, I had this idea for a project we could do in science. Just to change things up a bit. I searched all over the school and was stupefied not to be able to find any paint. All I could see were four half-empty, dried out cans of finger paint. And a bunch of scraggly brushes I didn't even want to touch for fear of splinters. What the heck? I thought. I guess I've always assumed that paint was a necessity. Art class was the only thing that gave me sanity through out my high school years. But I suppose when you're low on funds, art class is the first thing to be neglected.
I would really love to just fill IME's cupboards with paint and paint brushes before I leave. And maybe add some charcoal and pastels in there too if I had the means. There's plenty of empty space to fill and these students are making do with what they've got. But wouldn't it be so cool just to bless them with some awesome supplies? I can imagine that $200 Canadian dollars would go a long way here in Mexico.
I think of the way my students eyes light up when they get to make comic books or when Edy and Layla show me their drawings. If they make something cool in my class, the whole school has to know about it because they are just so proud of their work. They create such great things with so little material. I can only imagine what they would be capable of with better resources.
I told the principal at my school my idea and of course she has no objections. I asked her if I could give the students art lessons the last three days of school too since we won't be having our regular class schedule. She was fine with that as well. If I'm able to give these kids some awesome art supplies, then I would like to teach them some basic skills for using them as well. I'm so excited to see what they will create!
To my family back at The Bridge who sees the good happening in our little corner of Mexico, I want to invite you to be a part of the IME family. If you feel God leading you to be a blessing to us, I would love to get in contact with you for how you can help. Even giving just a little bit would go a long ways. I'm so excited that Pastor Chris has offered to help get the church involved as well. I know this would be a really great blessing for the school and that our children will continue to bring glory to God as they grow in their creativity and love for art.
Let me or Pastor Chris know if this is something you would like to be a part of. Thanks for reading! God bless you, and I'll see you all again soon!