Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My time year living and teaching in Marshall Islands is sadly coming to an end. It has definitely been the most rewarding and eye-opening experience of my life. Teaching in the Marshall Islands has been challenging at times but also an extremely rewarding experience. I have formed a strong attachment to my job and the 140 teenage students that I have spent most of my days with.

Since leaving home last July, many aspects of my life and my way of thinking have changed. My blessings and priorities have been clarified in a way that I am pleased with. I have been fortunately given opportunities that have allowed me to fulfill my goals, explore my passions and broaden my mind. I am grateful for these opportunities on a level that I was incapable of understanding before living in the Marshall Islands. Here, most students are not as fortunate as I was; students are often passed through the education system without even reaching an ounce of their potential.

Recently, I (along with the other worldteach) worked with a group of students on applying to the Junior State of America (JSA) summer program. JSA is a three week intensive program discussing government at three very prestigious schools in the United States; Georgetown University, Princeton University and Stanford University. We were so excited to find out that five of our brightest and most outstanding students were accepted to the programs. However, we were greatly dismayed when we heard that the scholarship money had already been distributed to students at another high school. Our students were also very disappointed that this wonderful opportunity was out of reach to them because of financial difficulties.

These five students, despite the obstacles presented in their daily lives, have been able to understand the value of education. They are active participants in the limited school activities. They are members of clubs, sports teams, and the student government. They are self-motivated individuals who strive to attend college in the near future. They are focused on continuing their education in a more structured educational system. My greatest hope is that students like this will be able to attend colloge and follow their dreams.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's the first day of March and I realized haven't written since last year. A lot has happened since November. I unexpectedly spent a month in Majuro and had Christmas on the outer island of Arno- following something tragic that happened out here in early December. There's been a lot of sadness so I stopped wanting to write online for a while.

Lately things have been going well. School continues on Ebeye...kind of. A few weeks ago school was cancelled most of the week for Kwajalein Memorial Day festivities. I was sick last week and this week is education week. Ironically, there is no school during education week... Marshallese style. Although it seems like I haven't taught in a month, I've gotten used to the teaching thang. It's become fun most of the time. I've come to terms with the fact that I can't teach every student everything. I can teach the students that want to learn some valuable skills or lessons. Most importantly, I can be a role model and friend to them. I've definitely grown attached to my students in a way I didn't expect. I have a few months left but I can tell that I'll miss them a lot.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Arno Arno on Christmas

Weekend Trip to Kwaj Missile Base

Sunday Snorkel, Surf and Fish Trip in the Lagoon