The influence a teacher has often isn’t seen for a long time. Working with 3-5 year old children in preschool I often wonder if they will even remember my existence. I, personally, remember almost nothing about preschool and I have no memories of my undoubtedly lovely teachers. So each year when I leave Nicaragua, to spend a few months in Minnesota, I always hope the kids will remember the meaningful connection we have made. Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like and if they don’t remember me….
The first school I visited since returning was the school that originally brought me to Nicaragua in 2009 when it was built. The classes are overflowing with kids who didn’t have a school until 7 years ago and the kids I first knew are either in high school now or have dropped out. I have made a point to continue to visit and share all the tools, strategies, games and music with the community that first inspired me to work in this country: Pantanal.
I entered the classroom of Profe Claudia, one of my favorite teachers, and was overwhelmed by the reaction of her 3rd grade students who still remember me from preschool….3 years ago. Their faces lit up, several of them jumped to their feet and they started shouting out fragments of what they remember… “The monkey song….Que te pasa? Calabaza!……the little octopus!!” These kids, now much bigger and better behaved, still remember!