Embracing Every Challenge

A New Lesson Each Day

~ By Johanna

I have been in Isla Mujeres for just over seven weeks and I can honestly express that I have never done as much in this time span as I have done during my time as a VolunQuest intern. As hectic as my day-to-day schedule is, I know I would rather be busy than be bored. I should clarify that I am not simply busy. I am investing energy toward a meaningful project that is going to affect this island community not only in this present moment but in the foreseeable future as well. In tangible ways, I am able to see the necessity for English language acquisition on the island, especially among the youngest generation.

Just last week, the taxi driver giving me a ride from Andrés, the school where I teach most of my English classes, inquired about private lessons for his two children who attend two different schools on the island. He explained how grateful he is for his children to have English classes in the primary schools, adding that extra classes outside of the classroom would be all the more beneficial for his kids. Overall, the most profitable jobs on the island stem from tourism, which heavily relies on English competency. Therefore, as an English teacher, I help provide the tools for this generation to be competitive applicants once they are ready to enter the work force.

Teaching English as a foreign language does not come effortlessly, especially when usage of the native language is avoided in the classroom. I am tested in each of my classes and challenged in unpredictable ways every day. Even detailed lesson plans demand improvisation in classes – whether it be in the form of acting, drawing, singing or dancing. At times I surprise myself with the energy I am able to find in the midst of a long day. What amazes me more than my own energy, though, is the enthusiasm and insight that the students bring to each class. The students are my true source of energy. Their curiosity and flexible minds spark my imagination and I am perpetually inclined to inspire them just as they do for me.