As I was so graciously reminded by a not-so-subtle advertisement for a local bank on the side of the road near our school in Colombo— “Selfless people make the world better” — but are my intentions truly selfless? Or selfish?
I came to SVS with the preconceived notion that my work would somehow make a direct impact in the lives of the students I taught. Little did I know the students and Sri Lanka would be teaching me more about myself than I knew.
I was overly enthusiastic about starting my first class teaching English. I walked in with the widest smile possible and a buoyant attitude ready to seize the day. I could see the glimmer in the students’ eyes as they enthusiastically understood a new concept. Then all of a sudden, I could slowly see the eminent crash into darkness when their knowledge came short of their own expectations.
Patiently lifting their spirits and reassuring them of their knowledge, I thought to myself, what did I get myself into! Speaking English and teaching English are two completely opposite sides of a spectrum — but I was up for the challenge!
Week 1- Done. Week 2 — am I brave enough to continue? After a nice adventurous weekend at the Samanala Valley Foundation estate in Maskeliya, I was ready for the new week. My students’ smiling faces continued to inspire me and guide me through the days. It wasn’t until one rough week, I kept getting challenged by a particular student. I thought to myself this is it, I’m never teaching again. Then after a quick pause — and several deep breaths — I sat down with the student and explained the hazy concept to him slowly from the beginning. When I finally saw the spark in his eyes of complete comprehension, I knew then that that was the reason why I came to SVS — the “Aha” moment.
More than a month into this journey of teaching, and possibly self discovery. I’ve learned that sometimes patience and persistence is the best way to achieve anything in life. I’m not sure where else teaching will lead me. But I welcome every new adventure with open arms and remind myself that any person, anything, can make a lasting impact in your life. Looking forward to what comes next at SVS…
¬ Karen Melara ¬