Today I stare into an empty suitcase as the idea of me teaching in Mauritius begins its transformation into a reality. For weeks I have told friends and family that I will be teaching at educational centers on an island 500 miles off the coast of Madagascar; now, just three days before I depart, that island begins to feel a lot closer. With its closeness comes a mixture of excitement, anxiety, hope, and uncertainty. Although I am excited about my curriculum, I hope that I will be able to implement it in a way that appeals to students of a variety of ages and from different educational backgrounds. I anticipate that this will be my greatest challenge.
I keep reminding myself to think about them – the students. I sometimes catch myself slipping into self-centered worry about my class, my curriculum, my ability to lead and teach a diverse array of adolescents. After a visit to McKay’s blog from last year though, I am reminded that in the end the students are going to make Mauritius amazing. I particularly like the above picture. The wispy wind in this girl’s hair and the safeguarding old hands that hold the little girl, soften the fierce look in her eyes. Even though I will not be teaching students her age, I am confident that my students too will share that ferocity and daringness. I am confident that this will translate into the classroom such that the students propel and shape the class.
I throw my lucky pair of red underwear my grandmother gave me when I was fourteen into the suitcase. The base of the boxers is fraying after years of wear but I will probably wear that on the first day of school for good measure. Shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops, socks, sneakers, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and bug spray also end up in a disorderly pile in my suitcase. Mauritius doesn’t feel so far away anymore. As I push the clothes down into the suitcase to close the zipper, I hope I’m ready.