All four members of the primary crew are in disbelief that our time teaching in Belize has come to an end. We had no idea what this experience would involve when we were chosen for the opportunity, but after 6 weeks we can all say that it has been more than incredible. Upon our arrival in April, we were nervous but excited to see what was to come in Belize. Jeff was worried about food options as Belize isn’t known for its quinoa, Ali was scared of possible illnesses like malaria, Hilary thought it might be too hot to handle and Jenna was tired from carrying her 56 lbs back pack from the airport. However, we overcame these challenges and more than enjoyed every minute of our past six weeks teaching in Belize.
This past week both teaching pairs taught in schools in Belize city. Jenna and Hilary taught at Central Christian Assembly with standard 4’s, 5’s and 6’s. The girls tried to make it their best week of teaching with a few new lessons and activities involving bullying, self esteem and drug abuse topics. The standard 6 teacher offered her projector and computer on the last day of teaching so they tried to engage the students with an interesting video on drug abuse that ended with a catchy rap titled “think about it.” Earlier in the week, Jenna and Hilary had a laugh when were talking with a few older kids at lunch about what they would like to be when they grow up. One girl in particular was adamant to know what she needed to do to be an optometrist. After the older kids had shared their dream careers with them, they noticed a little girl had been listening to the conversation when she turned to Jenna and Hilary and said, “Miss, when I grow up I want to be a mango!” All in all, the girls loved teaching at the school as the staff and students were overwhelmingly welcoming and kind during their visit.
Ali and Jeff taught Unity Presbyterian Primary School. They had one of the best weeks and were able to reach almost the entire school teaching Standard 2-6. The focus of the week was on Healthy Relationships. The teaching pair tried to make the lessons relevant to each of the classes by having the Standard 2’s drawing anti-bullying posters and the Standard 6’s focus was more on healthy sexual relationships. The environment at the school was extremely welcoming with the hugs we received each day from the kids to the inspiring principal Mrs. Betson. A definite highlight of the week was on our last day of teaching we received a handmade thank you card from each of the kids we taught. We could not think of a better way to end off our 6 weeks in Belize!
Now that the project has come to an end, we have been able to reflect on how unforgettable these past six weeks have been. We’ve come a long way since we began practice teaching in October, as we are now able to stand in front of a classroom and sweat because of the heat in Belize rather than the nerves. This experience has challenged us in more ways than we expected, both as people and young professionals. We are forever thankful for the support from our friends and families as well as the welcoming hospitality from all of the schools and community members we met along the way. As we go our separate ways, Jeff to the London School of Economics and Ali, Hilary and Jenna back to Queen’s University in the fall, we will always remember the experiences we all had as peer educators and are grateful for the opportunity.
Signing off for the last time, we’d like to thank puberty jeopardy, two claps if you’re listening and the classic bullying scenario cards for helping us engage and teach our kids along the way.
Annnnd we’re out! #teechazgatyabak
Hilary, Jenna, Jeff and Ali