Updated: Jan 2
The reason I became a teacher was inspired during my pilgrimage to the Hermitage in France. I was in awe that the early Marist brothers’ mission was to help the least fortunate youth, the children who didn’t know how to read or write, the ones who didn’t know Jesus.
Since beginning at my new school in Tacoma, I finally adjusted to the layout of the school, because it’s set up like a maze. I’ve gotten used to the students not wearing uniforms. One thing I’m still adjusting to is the fact that it’s a public school, a place where I cannot share my faith with the students. Even though I don’t talk about my faith with students I am still able to have personal conversations with them and get to know them at a deeper level. A girl has shared with me some struggles her family has faced as Native Americans, which is a new experience for me not being from the Pacific Northwest (PNW). I showed this student compassion by listening and trying to understand her situation. As an educator I care about my students, but just have to express myself a little differently.
Some of the other teachers are Christian as well so I’ve been able to have conversations with them which is nice. I still come to work in a tie (sometimes), crack corny jokes in class, get to know my students strengths and weaknesses and their personal interests. So some things never change.
The culture of the school has been a challenge to integrate into, because there is a lot of baggage that has been left behind by previous teachers. Even though the school is a “work in progress” I am in the science department, which happens to be the cutting edge department in the school. A couple of the teachers who have been there for a few years have a vision on how our students can become students with 21st century skills and better citizens of the world. That movement in our dept has been catching on with other departments in the school, so it’s pretty cool to be a part of that change.
The school I am in is in a culturally diverse neighborhood in Tacoma, and happens to be a high poverty area as well. So many of the students that come to my school come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Despite the challenges I face I wonder if this is the place I’m meant to me. Did God place me here so I can reach out to these students and show them a love that maybe they haven’t experienced before? This is something I’m praying about. I invite you to pray for me.