Apparently someone posed the question on Twitter what bliss looks like and thousands of people promptly replied with links to pictures of small moments of bliss they experienced.
This is a picture of bliss. We all have worries, but for me the moments of bliss are when those worries become invisible–our mind is occupied with something much more enjoyable (i.e. bliss).
This obruni hasn’t posted in a very long time… He apologizes for that. But while the posts have been lacking, the experiences have not.
During the last year, I slaved away at eradicating the achievement gap for second graders in Brownsville, Brooklyn in New York City. What effect did I have? I’m unsure. While the data always came back consisting of average scores, I feel confident that my scholars are ready for the next grade. This experience was by far the hardest thing I have ever done, and maybe ever will do. However, while I left most days wondering why I had signed up for this experience I was reminded of my passions and my abilities.
I am a person who believes in the good of other people; someone who wants every individual to be given the opportunity to maximize their own potential. We walk by people in the streets unaware of what they’re capable of. Often, we automatically jump to fear of another’s capabilities, but why not assume that the person has the power to change the world for the good? Perhaps, with the right teaching and determination that individual will find the cure to a disease the world so desperately needs. That’s what I want to do…not find the cure to a disease, but inspire and give others the tools necessary to do so. I want to light a flame that will spread like wildfire. I want to make a small hole in a dam that one day will cave under the pressure of the goodness behind it.
I used to say I wanted to change the world and of course there were nay-sayers who thought this naive and foolish. However, I believe it to be possible. Perhaps having a tremendous impact on the whole world would be difficult, but I can changed the world of some people and hopefully create a model for doing so that can be replicated in other areas and eventually spread throughout the whole world.
This is what I’ve come to: I enjoy teaching. Waking up and coming to school every day to greet the scholars in my class is not a chore, but I want more. I need to go and do this where others are not willing to. The achievement gap isn’t limited to America’s inner-city children; there are millions of children across the globe suffering from lack of opportunity who need someone to give them the tools/resources to be successful. Over the last few months I have really reflected on what this looks like for me and I have come to the conclusion that I will open my own elementary school in either Ghana or Kenya. The school will initially house and educate students in pre-k and Kindergarten and then add an additional grade each year thereafter through high school. With the help of volunteers, missionaries, community members, and churches we will decimate the achievement gap in the local community and prepare an army of scholars ready to address the challenges afflicting their community and nation.
I have one more year left in my commitment to Teach for America–a year in which I will continue to develop my skills to prepare and qualify me to make lasting change in the community of my future endeavor. I look forward to pursuing this dream and sharing the process with you.
Never did I expect such a reaction when giving a test.
Junior High here ranges between ages 13-18 and they are all different levels. I taught them two chapters and gave them a weeks notice to study for this test and they were lost… Earlier in the day when I went to borrow one of their textbooks to make the test one of the students said, “Make it cheap; cheap questions.” I clarified to make sure cheap meant what I thought, easy… I tried explaining to them that me giving them an easy test would do nothing for them as students; if they want to learn to think and succeed they have to be tested and pushed…
So, I made out the test: Four ID’s (basically you just write everything you know about something) and then four other questions that needed about a paragraph for each one. I wrote the questions on the board and one kid hollered out, “This is not how we do in Africa.” I replied with a casual, “Okay, well it is today,” and the student grumbled. I said, “If you don’t know or don’t remember something then make a guess–just try. However, do not let me see you looking off someone else’s test or yours will get ripped up and i’ll make you up a new one.” They wanted to test that last part. I started to rip one students and I think they got the picture. Little does that student know though that he will probably not even get half credit because he took it upon himself to mouth the answers to another girl. I asked them if they thought I was stupid and also reminded them that I was only 20 and was just in their shoes so I know all the ways of how teenagers try to sneak a peek at their neighbors paper.
I am going to have to give myself a couple of hours rest before I even begin to grade these; I’m gonna need a lot of patience! What really got me was that one of the teachers had written one of the answers on the back of the notebook and thought that I wouldn’t notice. I marched right back there and took that notebook from both the students who were rapidly trying to copy it down and kept it for myself and gave the other teacher a mean look. This was the same teacher whom the other day kicked the soccer ball and knocked a girl’s food right off her desk all over the floor and didn’t offer to pay her back or get her something else. 50 pesewas, about 25 cents, may not seem like much, but when it can buy someone an entire meal here…it is a lot of money. The girl was crying, REALLY crying. I just went and got her some crackers and water because I didn’t bring much money to school that day… But seriously? You call yourself a teacher. Oh, and now that I think about it, this is the same teacher that carries the whip when playing soccer with the kids and literally whipped one of the students when they went for the ball. Butthead. Forgive me.
Oh well, today was a good day at school for the most part! In Class 3 I worked on the tenses with them. We went outside and each person got three concrete squares and I would say a sentence and then they would determine if it was past, present, or future and write it with chalk in their appropriate square. I had fun, I hope they did too… Lol
Alright, well Spain just scored and all the other volunteers went wild (we have three Spanish girls here right now) so I better get off here and partake in the happiness!
Aha Yede (Happiness is here!)