Closings and new beginnings

The first iteration of the vocational training programme that I was sent here to coordinate and deliver has drawn to a close. That sentence seems quite ordinary at first glance but that belies all the energy and emotion that the end of the programme elicited. I’ve been working with the students from the local schools for over half a year and have not only learned their names and little personality quirks as all teachers do with their students, I’ve also grown to share in all their hopes and dreams as a result.

To be honest, last lessons tend to be fairly anticlimactic. We’ve gone through so many different activities, presentations and discussions that nothing at the end can quite sum up all that we’ve done. To say that they’ve come a long way would be an understatement – I’ve seen a number of students who could hardly string a few words together in English come forward and confidently present their future plans using a computer and PowerPoint. While critics might say that they still lack polish in many areas, one cannot deny that they’ve come a long way. I’m more than extremely proud of all that they’ve achieved.

Coming here as an almost-jaded educator who was all too used to teaching disinterested and sometimes indifferent students, having a large class of eager and highly motivated individuals was a breath of fresh air. Working with them has breathed new life into my life as an educator and I look forward to further brushes (pun intended) with students of different walks of life and aims. Though I may not get students with the same amount of drive as those we’ve just ‘graduated’, I cherish the time I got to spend with them and look forward to new challenges in my own journey as an educator.

Just as the curtain falls on this programme, doors are opening for our students at the same time. I used a quote from Victorian philosopher Herbert Spencer in the closing which went “the great aim of education is not knowledge but action”. It was extremely heartening to hear our students state that their own aims were indeed action based in their valedictory presentations. Most wanted to share the new knowledge and skills with others at home and in their community – which was both a testament to a tiny success in our teaching as well as the big sharing hearts that all our students had. I’m glad to have heard it and it brings me much hope for the future.

We cannot help but look towards the future and towards what we can support our charges to become. I may not be around to see them grow to become successful accountants, teachers, engineers and other professionals but I’m confident that this will come to pass. Though the mush factor seems to be hitting the roof here, I hope those who read this will indulge me. It does come after many months of lesson planning, teaching and praying that what we’re doing will make that little difference. I think we might just have done something here and for that I’m happy and extremely thankful for being able to be here to do it.

The obligatory group photo with bright happy faces

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about the brushhead

had a head like a brush (it's more like an egg now). seeks to sweep through thought and faith with that brush. tries to wax philosophical but often forgets to wax off. trying to be good brush to all, while discerning what kind of brush he's meant to be.

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