Matt Yoder, 2010 GHA graduate and son of Paul & Darlene Yoder, is currently serving in a mission school near Cayo, Belize. We asked Matt to share a little snapshot of his day-to-day routine, and how his experiences are shaping him…
Most mornings around here start with awaking to the sound of my alarm clock at 5:15 and preparing for another day at school. The intention is to leave for school by 6:30, although at times the reality is something slightly different. My two co-teachers and I have a 15 minute walk to school, or a two minute drive, depending on the morning. School begins at 7:15 so by 7:00 students are beginning to arrive. The reason we start this early is so when “dry” season comes around, our labors are done before the afternoon sun scorches our brains.
I teach in the “big room” which consists of thirty-four students and three teachers. I have eleven students ranging from grades 7-11. The rest of the forenoon pretty much goes like a normal school day in the states. There are kids who need extra help, then there are some who do everything on their own. Two breaks throughout the morning provide some much-needed brain rests, then by 12:15, dismissal time has come and we send the students home.
With this being my first year as a teacher, some of the challenges I face are in knowing how to handle certain disputes and situations when there needs to be an immediate answer. Another challenge that comes upon me at times is in trying to get my explanations across in a way that is easy for the student to comprehend. At times it seems difficult to do, but one of the most rewarding parts of my work is seeing the students eyes light up and realizing they “get” it. Finding the student has done a good job on his/her test adds to the list of rewarding parts.
Having a proper student/teacher relationship should also be included in the rewarding parts of teaching school. From the missionary’s perspective, some challenges are knowing how to respond to questions and certain situations that arise, since there are four young guys that are at our house a lot of the time.
The rewarding part of the missionary that I’m trying to be is seeing evidences of the Christian life in the guys that hang out with us. It’s crazy how obvious the change is in a person when the Spirit of God is in his life. It’s amazing how pleasant and “chill” the guys are when they “di win Satan,” and when they are losing the battle they seem so incredibly annoying. There is such a distinct difference.
The pressures of responsibility, I believe, are helping me to grow personally. Realizing that I am a role model to the guys and others at all times has definitely led me to think responsibly for everything that I do. The eyes are always on the “gringos.”
Living in Belize, my perspective on America has changed “sek ah” living in a “nex” culture (although I still immensely like living in the states). My perspective of Christianity has also changed as a result of living in a mission setting.
My learning experiences at GHA greatly enhanced my desire to teach. Some of the courses I took and opportunities I was given at GHA gave me ideas on what teaching would be like (I once had the privilege of “student teaching” 1st grade science for a week my senior year).
The Life-Shaping Decisions class, taught by Mr. Kauffman, was also beneficial as it caused us to think a great deal on our future, what our gifts and interests really are, and the importance of using these resources for God’s greatest glory!