Over spring break, I learned a lot about content literacy and education in general. I went to Haiti on a mission trip over the break. It was a serious eye opener to not only third world countries and how other people live in such poverty, but it also made me grateful and thankful for the gift of education.
In Haiti, more than 2/3 of the population is unemployed. The people live in very poor conditions with little food, unhealthy water, and barely any money. On my trip, we were partnering with an organization called Mission of Hope that is stationed in Haiti and seeks to provide help to the Haitian people by providing them food, schools, churches, medical clinics, and orphanages. They said that in their school systems, it costs about $4 a month to send one child to school. This may not seem like a lot of money, but I was amazed at the number of children who could not go to school because they did not have enough money.
One day we were walking around a village and we met this kid Greg that followed us around. He was about 14 and he originally told us that he was not at school that day because he was sick. Later, as we kept walking around, he told us that he had tried to go to school that morning but was turned away because he did not have enough money. That broke my heart. Sometimes in the US, we dread going to school and learning, while other places, kids are praying for an education and for enough money to go to school.
This aspect of the trip just made me realize how thankful we all should be that we have the opportunity to get a great education. It also made me very excited to be a teacher and share my love for learning with my students and hopefully increase their love for learning. It made me really want to teach my future students the importance of an education and how much they should appreciate it.
Another aspect of the trip that was somewhat difficult was the language barrier. In Haiti, they speak Creole, and every day we walked around with about 4 to 5 translators so that we could understand what the people were saying. Some people spoke English, but when they did not, it was difficult to understand what they were saying at times. Especially when we were playing with kids, I really wanted to be able to understand what they were saying to me and wanted to be able to talk with them.
I kind of thought about how this could relate to content literacy. Just as I couldn’t understand these kids, I thought about how important it is for students to understand what they are reading or hearing in a classroom. If they cannot make sense of anything they read, hear, speak, or communicate, they will not be learning anything or benefit from that class.