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Reading, Writing, Arithmetic

Illustration for article titled Reading, Writing, Arithmetic

[Santo, Haiti; February 18. Image via Getty]

SANTO, HAITI - FEBRUARY 18: Unaccompanied children attend a math class at the SOS Children's Villiages International compound February 18, 2010 in Santo, Haiti. The children being cared for at SOS are called 'unaccompanied' because many of them are earthquake orphans while others may still have family that have yet to be located. After 10 Baptist missionaries from Idaho were charged with child kidnapping, the 33 children they were attempting to take to the Dominican Republic were placed at this compound. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


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Pictures like this resonate so deeply for me. I just started working as a high school teacher, but my first classroom teaching experiences were in rural Kenya, where even though many children were literally starving, they were focused and dedicated to learning. Now, having just completed the third week of my 'actual' teaching career, I wonder if in some ways these past experiences have made me less empathetic with my current students... it's hard to take their excuses, attitudes, and general lethargy seriously when there are children around the world who would give anything for the chance to learn. If only I could bring them all to Kibera (a slum in Nairobi) for a day. Welcome to the world! Where people smile (erase all memories of, in my opinion, objectifying World Vision commercials), work, focus, and appreciate opportunities.