“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”

Adapting and Embracing Island Life

~ By Brittain

Brittain4The past month has been all about transitions. I’ve been transitioning from life in the U.S. to life in Mexico, and from a college student to an English teacher. It’s hard to believe that the month of January has already come and gone! We’ve been so busy getting into the swing of teaching and adjusting to island life. It’s been an incredible month to say the least.

Life in Isla is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. All aspects: the people, the scenery and the community as a whole. The community members have welcomed us with open arms and it has made the transition so much easier. We see our students everywhere we go and they always greet us with a smile and a “HI TEACHER!” It’s great to be able to feel so at home even though we are in a new country and away from our friends and family.

It takes a little time, but I’ve always been fairly good at adapting to change. Because island life is so simple and easy going, you could say that adjusting to island life has been a breeze. “Mexican time” is a real thing. Things don’t always run on time or according to schedule, and I’m completely content with this. It takes an element of stress away. It’s nice to be able to dismiss the constant feeling of being rushed. It’s okay that we aren’t always in control of the timing of things. At the end of the day, certain things are out of our control. We can’t control or predict how every second of every day will play out. And that’s okay.

Looking back my first few weeks of teaching, I can confidently say that I’ve come a long way! Teaching is new for me. Throughout college I worked at a local elementary school and did some tutoring, but I had never taught in a formal setting. The thought of standing in front of a room with 35-40 faces staring at me was terrifying. What if I forget what I’m saying? What if they don’t listen? What I they hate me? I was so nervous for my first few days in the classroom.

On my very first day, I walked into my 4th grade classroom and a boy ran up to me with a smile and shoved a book in my face. He told me that he got it for Christmas. I read the title and saw that it was a book for Spanish speakers to learn English. It was a really special moment. Seeing his excitement and enthusiasm to learn English provided me with the motivation and confidence I needed to overcome my nerves.

I couldn’t be more excited for the next 5 months with my students. I know there are challenges that will arise in the coming months, but I feel like I’m growing as both a person and as a teacher each and every day. Each day that passes I feel more and more confident in the classroom and I’m striving to be the best teacher that I can be for my students. Here in Isla, English is not so much a luxury as it is a necessity. At the end of the day it’s all “para los ninos” and I’m so excited and grateful for the opportunity to help provide my awesome students with the English education they want and need in order to be successful members of their community.