Some things really stand out when I think about actually teaching in Peru. The first, of course, is how immeasurably supported we are, as teachers, in the United States. And if I have to admit it, how incredibly whiny we can be.
Teachers in the COAR program in Peru leave their families, by choice, to be posted at a school far from home. They do this to earn more money, which is about one third of what we make in the US. They actively teach 28 hours per week, however they are required to be at school 12 – 14 hours per day. Students are free to move around campus after classes doing homework, visiting with friends, calling parents. The teachers are responsible for the students during this time. They are helping with classwork, counseling, playing and sometimes taking their class out for dinner. They are extremely dedicated.
In retrospect we realized that the teachers and students ARE a family. Neither has their own family here, and so they depend upon each other.
If I complain about students, or my car duty, or our lack of water service when I am lunching with teachers in our lounge, while I am drinking iced water and eating a cold salad, I hope that my memories of the dedicated teachers in Nazca surface. I want to remember Elizabeth, and Helen , and Paula, and Hermes, and Alejendro – teachers who write plans from a small desk they share with other teachers, who bring their own computers to school to extend lessons, whose supplies (4 expo markers) are carried from room to room to teach students, and whose enthusiasm, love and patience are shared with every single student every single day.