Dedicated to our returning students, this installment of our Q&A Series focuses on a recent EIU graduate now teaching abroad in the Bahamas. Hear his thoughts from the best to worst and everything in between.
A recent 2013 EIU graduate, Jesse has gone from his hometown of Glenview, Illinois to studying, and now working on the beautiful island of the Bahamas!
1. Now that you’ve settled into your new job, what’s the best part?
Settling into a new job can always be scary, especially when it is your first job as a teacher. Thankfully, I work with a wonderful staff that is always looking out for each other and always willing to help however they can. I would have to say my fellow coworkers are one of the best parts of my job at Tambearly.
2. What’s the hardest part? What presented itself as a difficulty while you were adjusting?
One of the hardest parts of teaching here is the grading; it is something I have gotten better at but it still takes up so much time. I have been going in earlier and getting some work done
during my breaks to keep up with everything so I don’t have to worry about taking so much home.
3. Did your student teaching in the US prepare you well for this position?
I am really lucky because even though I am teaching abroad, the private school I am working at uses United States state standards. My lesson plans and the material I teach look similar to lessons I created during student teaching. I did my student teaching in kindergarten which is a little different than teaching in fourth grade like I am now. But I am teaching three, four, and five year old soccer so the practice I have had with the younger students has really come in handy there.
4. How does the environment affect your teaching or your daily life?
Tambearly is a open air school meaning that there are walls and a roof, but there is no air conditioning. The school is made so that the windows on the ground pull in air while the windows on the wall blow air out. It keeps the school pretty cool considering it has been around 90 degrees. Because the door and windows are always open to the environment, there are frequent “visitors” that come into the room especially if it is raining. One of my first few days, a frog managed to hop into my room and disrupt the whole class until I was able to get it out. Having frogs, lizards, and a variety of other animals is a pretty regular event, but I have become better at keeping my class calm and getting the animals out of the room without hurting them.
5. Where are you living? What’s that like?
I am living in a nice neighborhood and my house is only a three minute walk to the beach. The water is so blue here and the sun is so many different colors. Depending on the time of day it really is wonderful. My walk to work is about half an hour but most of the walk is along the water, which makes the walk much nicer. I am living on my own for the first time without roommates, which is a little different. I have made some really nice friends so I rarely get bored, but there are some times when my days can be slow.
6. What do you miss from home? (places, people, things, food)
It’s on those slow days when I find myself missing my friends and family the most. I have always been close to my family so even when I was living at home it was nice because there was always someone to talk to. Thankfully now with Skype and Facebook, I have been able to keep in touch with mostly everyone, which makes everything so much easier.
7. You’re coaching as well – how does that add to your experience?
As it is my first time coaching, I do not know the most about soccer. However, I am working with three, four, and five year olds so practice is not about specific fine motor skills but more to get the students out, having fun, and boosting their confidence. I have a good relationship with the young students and many of them are really enthusiastic about playing, which is always exciting to see.
Thanks, Jesse! Continue to teach others all over the world.