Throughout your term of service, you are bound to experience various emotions about your job, your location, your community and more. Justin, a WorldTeach Marshall Islands volunteer, writes about his ups and downs, how they seem to balance each other out and how, regardless of the emotion involved, everything he is experiencing has value.
There are times when I wonder what I’m doing here.
There are times when my 6th grade class can’t seem to stop talking, and no amount of positive or negative reinforcement changes this. There are times when I feel like my students aren’t making any progress. There are times when I stare at the textbooks all afternoon trying to figure out how to make a comprehensible lesson plan for my students. There are times when I feel like I’ve written an awesome lesson plan, and the whole thing completely bombs. There are times when simple tasks like getting clean drinking water or brushing my teeth feel like a huge ordeal. There are times when it’s 90 degrees and 100% humidity and the sun is scorching down with no wind, and the power goes out so my fan doesn’t work. There are times when I feel isolated from my community. There are times when I feel like I can’t relate to anyone here. there are times when I miss the United States, and find myself longing when I look at my textbooks and see that they were produced in Ohio.
But then there are times when everything clicks. There are times when my 3rd graders (bless their hearts, they are my saving grace) are excited to learn new vocabulary. There are times when I think up an idea for teaching on the spot and it works perfectly. There are times when I can laugh with my students. There are times when I write efficient lesson plans and have time to enjoy the evening. There are times when Marshallese makes sense and I can have meetings with my principal with no need for translation. There are times when I walk down the road and everyone that passes me says hi and asks how I’m doing. There are times when I can stop and look at the sunset over the lagoon and soak it all in. There are times when I can go surfing and look down to see a beautiful coral reef rushing beneath my feet as I catch a wave. There are times when I eat dinner with my host family and we stay outside and chat long after we’ve finished eating. There are times when I feel like I don’t have enough time here to do all that I want to do (which is a great place to be).
This year has been and will continue to be a combination of negative and positive experiences. Both types of experiences have value. There is much to be learned from both types of experiences, and I’m sure that my remaining months here will bring an abundance of both.