The worldwide Augustana College experience

Jamaica- Feelings of Leaving Alpha

I do not even know how to begin to describe my feelings over the three days at the Alpha Boys school. I was surprised when on the first day, the principal warned us that many boys were there because they have gotten in trouble with the law and are trying to turn their lives around. I, however, did not notice any bad behavior. Of course, the boys would mess around with each other and I would see the occasional play fighting out by the basketball courts, but if it ever happened in class, we were able to stop it right away. Each student was so respectful, and I could get used to being called “Miss” in a polite way all of the time!

Our last day was again hectic and somewhat unorganized. Many of the boys were returning from “holiday”, so we had many students placed in our class that had not been there the past two days. We also had to fit all of the students into the morning sessions (which we were unaware was going to happen), so it was a bit difficult to split students into groups when the student needs were a wide range and we were not aware of the prior knowledge of the new students. But teachers always find a way to make everything work! 

After our class sessions, we got the awesome opportunity to watch the Alpha girls put on a concert for us. It was great to see how appreciative they were of the math teachers and all of the hard work the math teachers were able to put into their instruction since they were aware of many details ahead of time. It was a joy to see my fellow teachers attempt to perform some Jamaican dances on stage, and to hear Dr. Egan’s uplifting speech. We then ended by singing “One Love” together, which was an appropriate way to bring the three days to an end. 

Am i a bit jealous that the math teachers were able to have their own classrooms, their own set of students to bond with, and a way to thoroughly plan ahead of time? Well, yes, but my Alpha experience is still one that I will never forget. Although we had many boys in class (and different boys everyday), I still feel that we made great connections with the students and made a positive impact on their lives. I taught a few of the boys to use the number line when adding and subtracting integers, and I think it really helped them! The saddest part about leaving Alpha is being aware of the conditions that these boys have to deal with on a daily basis. They have to eat in silence, wear the same clothes day after day, many do not have a family to go home to, and they do not get praised for their hard work often. The boys that we were able to teach were very bright, and I would be lucky to have any of them in my future classroom. These boys truly want to learn, and they love math (imagine that!) I will truly miss them, and I hope I can visit Alpha again while school is in session and the boys are on an actual schedule. I would also love to teach at the girls primary school and help them as well. Each of the students I encountered has a wonderful, caring, and loving heart, and I wish them the best of luck with their futures. 

Leave a Reply