8/31/12

Arriving in Micronesia



WorldTeach volunteer Diana Rowe just recently arrived in Micronesia to begin a year of teaching. Diana's passion for volunteering is strong, and her pre-teaching jitters are completely normal. Take a look at what Diana has been up to lately and how she has been preparing for her Micronesian teaching debut! We know she'll do a great job!
I’m finally here on Kosrae, Micronesia- a sliver of a very remote, disconnected island. There is a sense here that if the world were to end, Kosrae would be halfway into oblivion before any fair warning stumbled its way. Take a five minute stroll down the single, palm-tree shaded road circling the island and you’ll find that Kosrae’s existence seems to function just barely past the past the point of daily life. It’s a very sluggish, very island existence; an existence that makes even the most lethargic U.S. hippie surfer look like a frantic, uptight New York businessman.
I’m finally here in Kosrae and have been for a full month- 30 days filled with host family bonding, stumbling through half coherent Kosraean greetings, avoiding parasitic worms, lesson planning, bike riding, witnessing pig massacres, Blue Hole snorkeling and “Ossit” shenanigan-ing. For 30 days I’ve been absorbing Kosraean culture. I’ve managed to correctly time and distinguish my “Lwen Wo” (Good afternoon) from my “Eke Wo” (Good evening). I’ve also mastered the art of making my gigantic mountain of rice look sufficiently attacked before pushing the plate away with a polite “Nga Kilpe, nga mongo tari- Kulo!” (I’m full and done eating but thanks!)- the single most useful phrase for any Ossit (foreigner) in Kosrae.
For thirty days I’ve been enjoying my semi-vacation here on Kosrae. It’s been relatively easy to settle into life on this island without a care in the world- to do as the locals do and not take too much too seriously. The first three weeks of orientation was a real but perhaps a much too gentle reminder of my real purpose here- an easily ignored tug on the sleeve meant to direct my attention to the 130+ students I will stand in front of next week. But orientation is over now and this particular Ossit has exactly 7 days to formulate a unit plan from scrap that simultaneously interests, motivates, and educates my students all the while preparing a small handful for college in the States.
…Sooo, what exactly is a unit plan again??
For the first time since my arrival in Kosrae, there is a real sense of being utterly unqualified; there’s a panicked, small voice in my head that rudely reminds me, Hey, stupid- you barely know what a 5 step lesson plan is, how are YOU supposed to be responsible for even ONE kid’s education??
Even after 3 weeks of lectures, practice teaching sessions and local teacher observations, the possibility of failure has been a constant companion for the past couple of days, slowly eating away at any reservoir of confidence I had in myself as a teacher. But it’s not simply the threat of failing myself that consumes me, it’s failing my students- allowing students to fall through the cracks of my inexperienced fingers, leaving my classroom unchanged, unmotivated or, even worse, ill equipped for college.
Maybe it’s a valid concern; maybe it’s simply a case of jitters- either way, for now I’ll assume that this is a healthy fear- the healthy, responsible alternative to indifference. I’ll assume the threat of failure will be a steady and deep-seated push to navigate myself out of these Hey, stupid- quit pretending you know what you’re doing waters. Whatever the case, the first day of school is Aug. 13th and it’s hurtling towards me without any regard for my mental state. So in 7 days I guess we’ll see if this particular Ossit sinks or swims…
…wish my students good luck ;)

If you're interested in volunteering abroad in Micronesia, visit our website at www.worldteach.org. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us at info@worldteach.org or give us a call at 857.259.6646!

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