My first official week in the creches was definitely very emotional but I am relieved to say that our first week is down with seven more to go. We started the week off very optimistic and full of energy then the storm hit on Wednesday, which caused schools to close so we were left with a day off to rest and reflect. Then we finally finish off strong on Thursday ending our week with the same amount of energy we began it with. In just four days i came across lots of realizations that allowed me to put myself into perspective. The creches we are working in are definitely not what we are used to, we are facing challenges that we would never have to face back home in a classroom. These challenges and feelings of frustration are allowing me to recognize the privilege we have as teachers from California. The teachers in the township of Vrygrond have very little resources yet they manage to run the classroom to the best of their abilities everyday. These teachers are contributing a lot to their community of Vrygrond especially to the children they are serving by providing them with a safe learning environment while their parents are out working long hours.
After this week I am left to believe that this is the hardest thing ive had to do im my life thus far. With the education and knowledge we have in ECE we are being asked to build a relationship with teachers in 16 days while facing somewhat of a language barrier. We are also being asked to help the teachers become better teachers with what we know however, I feel like they are teaching me more than I am teaching them. I admire the teachers for working with what they have and not focusing on what they don’t have. Many times as teachers and humans we pay more attention to all of what we do not have which then distracts us from what needs to be done with what we already have. Outside of the crèches I am also going though a bit of culture shock, learning to adapt to a new culture is difficult when wherever you go you can’t help yourself but to stand out as being American. Along with, understanding the history of this country and recognizing the corruption of the government. It’s a lot to take in in such a short amount of time but I am thankful for being here.
At the end of everyday in the crèches as I’m leaving the township of Vrygrond I see children sitting on the sidewalk and I think about how unfair it is that every child does not receive a good quality education when every child deserves one. This work that we do as teachers, especially as ECE teachers can be very discouraging when looking at the pay gap but it’s important to never give up and stay positive no matter the circumstances because our purpose in the classroom is much greater than any material thing.