I was fortunate to have spent the last 5 years of my teaching career at one of the wealthiest schools in the United States. As a teacher we had so much at our fingertips. We had a supply closet that was packed full of paper, pencils, notebooks, crayons, etc. We had a copy center that we would submit our papers to and the next day all copies would be made and placed in our teacher boxes. We were served breakfast and lunch and if we wanted dinner to bring home for $5.00 we could bring home dinner for our family. We had white boards and smart boards. We had computers and overhead projectors and televisions in every room. We had a budget that we could buy extra supplies with that may be needed to do our jobs better.
I remember when I left my job to move to Palm Springs I knew that I could never teach anywhere else again. I had the perfect job and anywhere else would never come close. I spent the next 7 years doing a different type of teaching. I worked with adults teaching about memoir writing. I enjoyed those years very much and then last year I had the opportunity to move to Baja to focus more on a new addition to my business of women’s writing retreats.
I have spent the last 10 months writing and leading retreats and then last week there came an opportunity to teach children once again. I learned the teacher that taught english in one of the poorest communities of Loreto needed some help. Another retired teacher named Kathleen and I drove out to Miramar. The unpaved road with the stray dogs and poor dwellings they lived in gave way to an elementary school in the distance.
Our first day we were greeted by nearly thirty 6th graders. We gathered two groups outside in a circle where we could practice english. Vocabulary and common greetings were what we worked on for that morning session. I glanced inside the classroom to see bare walls and a torn paper homemade map on the wall. The desks looked like they had seen better days when these children’s parents were in school. Some of the desks had no backs to the chairs and some of the chairs had no desks.
Although my spanish is limited we were able to communicate that morning. They connected to a smile and they knew I was there to help them. I left with feeling such a sense of gratitude that they wanted to learn how to communicate with me.
The next day I arrived with my friend David and we worked with 3rd graders and 6th graders again. I had some flashcards we played games with and at the end I gave them each a sticker. As they lined up so excitedly they spoke to me in english: almost all said thank you, some said have a nice day, others said see you tomorrow. I was hugged and hugged and hugged.
As I am writing this from my air conditioned villa that is just steps away from the Sea of Cortez, some ten miles away from Miramar I think of these children. I think of their smiles and gratitude. I know that their lives will be profoundly changed if they learn english. They won’t have to settle on being a gardener or a housekeeper. They will have the opportunity to go to college and learn a trade and become very successful.
Today I saw a new generation of hope for the children of Loreto. I plan on making a difference in the lives of the Loreto people. I can spend the time in the classrooms each week, but I want to encourage you to help, wherever you are.
When I left yesterday the principal came to us and spoke. Silvia, the english teacher translated for her, but in short she wanted to thank us for coming to her school. She told us the doors are open for us whenever we would like to visit.
My hope is that you, my friends in the United States and beyond will help the children of Miramar. I will be posting updates about what I am doing in the school each month. If you would like to donate I have a pay pal link set up at www.thememoircoach.com all you need to do is click on Tammy and that will take you to a page where you can see the paypal link to the right. Any amount will help the children of Miramar in Loreto. We will use the money to make copies of worksheets, I will purchase supplies that are needed each month. When friends come from the states I will have them bring things down. Thank you for your help.