From the outside, Baras Elementary School looked like a small but fun school to work at. I remember assuring myself “You’ve got this!” while making my way to teach my first English class. I quickly learned that there were more needs to be revealed as I started to volunteer my time regularly there as an English teacher.
There are anywhere from 30-40 children per classroom in this small K-6 school. On top of large student-teacher ratios, the teachers are also the administrators, trying to fulfill secretarial roles as well as registrar responsibilities. One of the sad realities of an overworked staff is that often times the students who struggle the most get overlooked.
In addition to teaching 4th-6th grade English, I have also been offering my time tutoring the 16 “non-readers” in grades 2 through 6. Having time to personally tutor these students who struggle with reading is an opportunity I do not take lightly. Most of the curriculum and class lessons require students to be able to read and write and those who aren’t able to often times drift to the back of the room with their heads on their desks, not participating at all.
It has been a humbling opportunity getting to know the children at Baras Elementary School and being able to teach them. Aside from illiteracy, many of the children are poor and deal with hunger, lack of resources, illnesses, malnutrition and trauma caused by the experiences of having to deal with Typhoon Haiyan and the aftermath of the storm. Every day of teaching becomes an opportunity to allow them to be children and learn that education can be fun. I’m thankful for this opportunity to love them like Jesus.