Sunday, July 24, 2005

Why Teach? & Peace Corps Thoughts

Some of you out there may be wondering why I chose to travel 9000 miles in order to pursue a teaching opportunity?

As I mentioned before, I am a former Peace Corps volunteer. I served in PC in Honduras. I was sent there to build/improve water systems. About 5 months into my time there I was injured. I separated my collar bone from my sternum...a very serious injury. As a result of the accident I wasn't able to do the water system work, it was far too physical. Frustrated by my inability to use my left arm, I decided to come up with work that wouldn't require me to risk further damaging my shoulder/arm. After talking with many folks in my village I decided to start some English classes.

I spent about a two weeks developing a curriculum and speaking with other volunteers who had experience teaching. I posted several fliers around town and about 15 people showed up eager to learn. The classes were a little rough at first, but as time went on they began to flow. I felt very comfortable and the community was quickly warming up to me.

I really hoped that the doctors in Honduras would be able to handle my condition...unfortunately they were pretty clueless. Three orthopedic surgeons in Honduras were unable to properly diagnose/treat the injury. Approximately 3 months into the classes I was finally pulled out of my site by Peace Corps and sent to Washington D.C. so the American doctors could check me out. It took just one appointment in D.C. to determine that my injury was much more severe than the docs had thought in Honduras. Peace Corps HQ in D.C. decided it was a bad idea to send me back to Honduras and that, sadly, ended my life in Peace Corps. Their justification for terminating my service was I could easily aggravate the trauma and the insurance risk was too high...sigh.

The English classes were an unwitting victim of my termination. I was really in a groove in my makeshift classroom. My desire to get back to that situation is one of the driving forces in my push to teach again. Taiwan is an excellent place to attempt to regain that groove.

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