Going into our first day of teaching at the Alpha Girls School I was a little bit nervous. I have never actually taught any class. The most that I have done is help out and observe during a clinical. I knew that I was in for much more. At the beginning of the day, before we began teaching, we told one of the teachers in the math department that we were going to be teaching and she replied with a joking “good luck”. It was a friendly “good luck”, but it also seemed to imply that the girls were going to be misbehaved and hard to handle. However, after the first five minutes of being in our 5th form pull out session any doubts or nerves that I had about the week were completely gone. The girls were smiling from ear to ear almost the entire lesson. They were incredibly well behaved, respectful, genuine, and interested in what we had to say to them. It was as if they were excited to be learning algebra! They were interested in what we had to say, but I cannot imagine them being more interested in us than we were in them. Here were young girls that have had rough upbringings and are living in poverty that are extremely respectful and truly care about their education and I was captivated by it. It was incredible to see the way that they were determined to learn the material. Perhaps part of it was that they had the CXC exams coming up so they knew a specific reason that they needed to know the material, but they also really cared about their education.
While in our cooperating teacher, Ms. Rose’s 6th form class, the girls were getting a little rowdy. Ms. Rose told the girls to quiet down or she was going to leave. I immediately thought that this was a horrible strategy to get students to quiet down, but I had underestimated the students. That silenced them like you wouldn’t believe. The thought of their teacher leaving and them not learning anything that period was enough to bring them to their best behavior. I feel as if a teacher tried this technique in america the students would only get louder. They would not care if the teacher left. If anything, they would prefer it if the teacher left. The way in which the students at Alpha Girls School view education is so different than the way the students in america view education. I know, because they definitely have a more positive view towards it than I did. At Alpha the girls were not just trying to get by and get through school. They were trying to get as much out of it as they could. They realize that the education that they are getting is not free, it is costing their family a great deal of money, their family does not have much money in the first place, and that education is the way out of poverty in Kingston.