I came across a website that listed the traits of good teachers expressed by young people around the world. Without thought or hesitation, my eyes went right to Chile. Young people from Chile expressed that "a good teacher is someone who can learn from his students, who can learn with them, and for them."
In Chile I learned from the students that they are eager. Not only those students, but I was reminded that all students are eager. They are eager to know more. Eager to add to their knowledge. From the moment I walked through the gates of the school in Santiago, I was being studied. The children wanted, so badly, to learn more about me. About where I came from, what I was doing there, what the US was like. They wanted to teach me about themselves, their education, their language. And I let them.
In Chile I learned right along with the students. I learned how to be patient, understanding and how to be appreciative. As we tried to communicate with one another, we had to accept the struggles and delays without becoming frustrated. We had to be tolerant, forgiving and aware of each others feelings. We had to show gratitude.
Finally, I went to Chile to learn for the children and to better myself as an educator. The children that I have the privilege of working with on a day to day basis. I work in several different settings with children from several different cultural backgrounds. I owe it to all of those children to be the best that I can be. I cannot do that without continually giving myself the opportunities to grow professionally and personally. Chile was one of those opportunities for me. The opportunity to build my language skills, increase my cultural awareness, develop a deeper understanding of education and what it means to be an educator. To remind myself that every once in a while we get knocked down, but that a new day follows. I strengthened my belief that all children have what it takes to be successful and how teachers play an integral role in that success, by ensuring that they have the necessary tools to get to the finish line.
Thank you Chile. Thank you for being the start of an amazing journey. For allowing me to learn and grow. And for reminding me that even on a gray & dreary day...the rain will come and turn everything beautiful once more.
My name is Natalie and I am a graduate student at Buffalo State College in the special education program. I have been given this amazing opportunity to really grow not only as a student, but as a teacher and a person. Through this experience my hope is that I get to know myself better as an individual; develop a deeper understanding of the Chilean geography, culture and language; and gain a different perspective on the possibilities within the classroom. I hope that you follow me on this journey and learn right alongside me.