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Mongolia...a New School Year Begins

Mongolia...a New School Year Begins

Happy 2014-2015 School Year from MONGOLIA!

As I look ahead to a new school year in a new country with new responsibilities and extraordinarily few resources, I cannot help but reflect on the past year’s travels.  

I believe myself to be the most fortunate theatre teacher in the United States because last year I was able to visit over 40 schools’ Theatre programs and communicate with another 30 teachers about their school situations.  I owe every one of those teachers a debt of gratitude.  I was amazed and impressed by all that I saw & read & learned - not because of what teachers did or didn’t have, but because of how successfully they used what they did or didn’t have.

And although I often had precious little for resources in the states, I saw teachers who had less - for there will always be a teacher who has less.  Now that I am in Mongolia, I work with teachers who have even less than the most desolate teacher in America…almost every teacher in this country falls into this category.  And a Theatre teacher in Mongolia is an absolute luxury, but no school has a Theatre space of any kind.

So, as I begin this new and exciting year, I have a few reminders to myself which may pertain to all of you as well:

        **Look long and deep into the eyes of each student who crosses the threshold of my classroom - therein lies the reason I am
          here.  Those students are not going to learn
better because of a SmartBoard or a tablet in their hands, because I have
          1,000SF of 
teaching space or 40SF, or because I have every supply imaginable or none.  

        **My students are going to learn because of my passion, enthusiasm, encouragement, and excitement about educating them.

        **My students are going to learn because I chose to be there, because I chose to teach, and because I chose to care enough
   to look into each and every eye of each 
and every student who crossed my threshold.  

        **I will make the connections, develop the relationships, and help each student find a reason to want and love to learn…and
  each student will learn.

        **I will remember, even on my most difficult days, that my students are humans, prone to beautiful imperfection, whose growth
          as humans with whom I want to live in this society will be more strongly influenced by who I am and how I teach than what I

        **There is no social, economic, familial, mental/physical/psychological or cultural reason that I cannot reach every student    
           who crosses my threshold…even if I have to carry 
them across it.

        **No excuses.

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Julie Woffington September 08, 2014 12:00 pm
Thank you Zena for sharing and inspiring us! It is a great reminder to focus on what we CAN do. Individual leadership can make all the difference.
Danysha Lamadieu September 02, 2014 10:48 am
Please keep blogging about your experiences! I absolutely adore what you're doing over there. You're an amazing teacher!