I can remember that feeling each June…. The last day of school. It was busy, busy, activity, keeping kids occupied and focused, grading papers, testing, calculating…. and then silence. It was sort of like that here although I am not sure I feel that relief that I felt in the states when the students left for the summer. Here there is always the thought of the preparation for the next year. And life just transitions to the next thing.
I will say that my last exam here did give me a feeling of being pushed over the edge – and having the reminder that I was teaching in a third world country. We didn’t have power that day. It was supposed to come on before the exam and never did. We rigged up the generator and hooked up flood lights from the construction site. And then the generator ran out of gas. Twice. The lights went off three times. The students could be heard cheating. I found words for the exam written on a few hands. We switched classrooms in the middle of the exam. And exam that was supposed to start of 4:45 and be done at 6:15 got over at 9:30….. and I walked out of there thinking… It sure would be nice to be teaching in the states right now, with the guarantee of things being slightly more smooth. But that is what I have traded here. I have traded the right to have electricity. The right to be able to discipline in English. The right to have a time schedule. And the right to set my own parameters. No matter how much I try to be prepared for something, God can always throw a quirk into the system to keep me flexible.
This was our first year for our University Program – although to me it feels as if it was a very long year. Probably because it was taught in semesters. As always, there are many things that you learn along the way. I believe that as teachers, there is always something else that we want to do for our students. There is always something that we know we can do better. The greatest challenge in the university was keeping the standard high. It is the first program of its kind here, and there are many people who would like employment. And so, the students came in with differing levels of education, and the Department of Health requires the students to score 71% in each of their classes. This is a very high level that most of the students were not used to. And so…. The challenge lies in getting these students to this level. Unfortunately they won’t all make it. But my hope is that through the challenge, they learned more about themselves. They saw a little of what it takes to be successful. And they gained motivation along the way. This first class of students still has two more years…. But for now, we take a break until January.