The worldwide Augustana College experience

How can words give Justice to the importance of this experience?

Wow what an amazing school! Alpha is a incredible atmosphere, the girls are so friendly, funny, but most of all they are dedicated!

Our goal for the trip was to work with the fifth formers on the most important skills they can have in taking their cxc exam. We do pull out sessions and provide lessons to work on the skills with the students. We offer ourselves during school and for tutoring after school. We also are available as teacher aids, but my cooperating teacher mrs Williams had been amazing in letting me get involved, and I have for the most part taken over her classrooms. I have been able to teach my first math lessons in my life and they all went amazing. What an experience! If I get get in front of a class of students that are a different culture teaching a subject that is not necessarily my discipline and do a great job, then I will never have to be nervous in front of a class ever again.
There are so many memories from the past few days that truly highlight the girls personality. On the humorous side was when we were assisting Dr. Egan’s class and he asked the student to come to the front of the room to teach her peers how she did the problem. Boy did he choose the right girl! She was a crack up ! She come to the front of the room and starts imitating/mimicking/ and poking fun at Dr. Egan while still doing a great job actually teaching the problem. The whole class was rolling. I have a short video of it that is still funny, but I missed a lot of the hilarious parts because I needed to catch my breath before recording !
Another memory that shows these girl’s true personalities came in a after school tutoring session. This is when we were really brought back to earth with all of the horrible crap that these girls have to go through just to get an education. In the Midwest sometimes school closes early or is canceled for weather, here the schools close not because of weather but because of violence in Kingston . These girls have to go through hell and back in order to get to and from school everyday. The most amazing thing is that as a teacher you would never tell . They never complain, they are incredibly polite, and they are here to learn. The students have so much pride that they will never show when they are hurting. There was a girl who came to our tutoring session as we were finishing up asking for help. We asked if she had any free periods the next day and she said that she was free 11:20-12:20.. Her lunch hour. We said no you must eat and enjoy that time. She played it off saying oh no I’m trying to become a model I need to stay skinny anyway, as a joke. She said this because I’m assuming she had no money for a lunch but wouldn’t let on. The the student is so proud that if even offed food she would have refused it. What is most humbling is that this girl who is going hungry at lunch, instead of being worried about that she was focussed on bettering her math skills. Determined to make a better life for herself.
There are good people all over.
I think Dr. Egan made a great reference to the the Who “the children are alright “. Coming from a privileged background our communities and people we associate with teach us to no associate with the impoverished . They will rob steel and hurt you is what we are told. I wish everyone could have an experience at alpha or our Jamaica experience in general to be able to understand how stupid and harmful that school of thought is. There are so many awesome, dedicated, and intelligent students waiting to be empowered. Schools like alpha allow for many of these students to become empowered.
I have learned so much from the alpha community that is is hard to even select one thing to talk about.
When it was time to leave they sent us off in the best fashion ! The girls gave us gifts! We sang, danced, and our cultures began to entwine together. People are more alike then they are different.
The girls and administration kept thanking us for our selflessness and generosity to provide our services for free to the students. This made me feel awesome because at that point everything started to come full circle. Everyone can benefit from everyone. I really hope the students benefitted from our time down there and the material/ teaching services that we provided. However to say that it was all selfless is a stretch. I chose to go on this Jamaica trip for very selfish reasons. However what i learned is that sometimes being selfish is a great way to benefit yourself and others, as long as it is the right selfish reason. In other words there are good and bad selfish reasons. I decided to go to Jamaica, and the class helped us develop this mindset, in order to learn from a different culture. I wanted to engage with new people and exchanged conversation. I went there to learn Jamaican culture, and of the Jamaicans wanted to learn about my culture I was more than happy to exchanged because that is how people get to understand each other.  I would have to say it was more of us making a trade then giving out “services”. In order to leave a positive impact and a meaningful moral impact you must be a genuine person. If you are a genuine person what ever selfish reason there was for embarking on the experience can evolve into a selfish yet selfless experience as the person grows to understand it’s not just about their experience, but it is about the experience of everyone involved. Hopefully we were able to help them with their academics because they were sure helpful in making me understand and incision a world where “out of manny we are one”. I have never engaged with a people who are more accepting, loving, and giving than I have these past two weeks .
 I am typing on the plane home and it is safe to say that no one wanted to leave. The culture, country, and people grew on us. There is a definite sense of attachment that we developed to the country, people, and all the experiences that they gave us. We were put out of our comfort zones many times yet it managed  to end up feeling like home. The best way to end this class is like we started it. “Smile Jamaica “. I don’t think any other song was able to depict the country so well. While there are definite problems in Jamaica with its poverty, politics, and more ; the image that you take away from the country is the Jamaican smile. The smile , laughter, and rhythm of the country is what I will remember. That also what will probably bring me back to Jamaica in the future. Until that time, which hopefully soon come, Easy Skankin Jamaica.

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