alumni feature, international service

Teaching, A Two Way Rhythm of Give and Take

JVC staff visit to Peru (2011)

I WAS INSPIRED TO MAKE EDUCATION MY FULL TIME CAREER through my two years serving as an international JV in Tacna, Peru. Though challenging, I found teaching to have a beautiful two way rhythm of give and take. I loved trying to tailor lessons to students who were struggling and I was inspired by students who took information I gave them and were hungry for more.

When in Peru, many students I taught lived without running water or electricity, some were eager to learn English and some were not. As much as I was initially confounded by how to teach, I began to be delighted by their varied personalities and willingness to teach me about themselves, their families, their culture and their country.

Now, my students in the US come from various backgrounds and poverty here looks different. Poverty here is two families crammed into a small apartment, it’s having to move schools when the rent runs out, it’s having to stay home from school to take care of your little sister so an adult can go to work. I love that teaching puts me in touch with students from all different backgrounds, allows me to know experiences that are different from my own in a personal way and gives me a direct opportunity to help.

I wouldn’t have considered teaching as a profession had I not been a JV. JVC’s international program gave me the confidence that I had something to offer students and continues to be both a foundation and a hope spring for what I do now.