~ By Maggie
This whirlwind experience is more than halfway done (what!??), which seems absolutely crazy considering it still feels like I just got here! I have gotten into a nice routine of teaching, lesson planning and doing fun things here and there in between, and it is easy to become a little complacent when settling into a routine; however, two things happened recently that gave me even more of a renewed appreciation for the work we are doing here in the schools.
For about the last week, a woman visiting Isla came as part of Volunquest’s Library Reader program to my school every day to read and get to know the kids. It is always funny when someone comes because the kids immediately assume the person is your family and ask all sorts of interesting questions…(is this your mom or grandma?) But, the kids are so excited when anyone comes to visit them, especially when they are English speakers and from the States. They were even more excited to have a consistent person come to read to them. The woman, Jaye, made many of the same observations I did when first coming to teach at the school; for example, the kids being so affectionate, their dedication and willingness to learn, etc. It reminded me yet again why I was here and how great this experience is.
The second thing that renewed my appreciation for this experience was having to return to the States for a few days for family reasons. I am not afraid to admit that I really loved having a hot shower and homemade mac’n’cheese…but it practically brought tears to my eyes when I got back to school and all the kids came running to hug and tell me how much they missed me and how worried they were that I had left for good without saying goodbye. On top of that, the first class I taught that day was to fifth grade about all the great things about the island, and what they like the most about it. It was incredible not only for them to share their love for the island with me, but to do it in English!!! That was a really proud teacher moment for me.
While I would not say my appreciation for this entire experience ever really waned, it was easy to fall into a routine and almost forget. Both having a great Library Reader volunteer and having to leave Mexico for a few days gave me such a renewed appreciation for what we are doing here and I am so grateful for that.