As with so many other ex-pats living abroad, I had made plans to go home to the United States, for a short stay, to participate in a family matter in March of 2020. My short stay turned into 10 months. To keep myself occupied during my stateside time I decided to go back to college to get a Master of Teaching degree. Now that I am back in Chiang Mai I am loving the camaraderie of spending time in the office discussing educational pedagogy with my fellow teaching staff.
A recent topic of discussion revolved around the concept of being an “Intentional Teacher” and what that means and how it impacts our students. We were specifically discussing the idea of teacher efficacy, which is the belief of a teacher that what they are doing is making a difference. According to Robert Slavin in Educational Psychology, “Research finds that one of the most powerful predictors of a teacher’s impact on students is the belief that what he or she does makes a difference.” As a teacher, you have to believe that what you are doing is making a difference – otherwise teaching will zap you out long before you can impart significant knowledge to students.
I have been teaching, in one capacity or another, for the past 25 years, and I can say with the utmost confidence that the culture and mission of Earth Mission Asia makes believing in the work we do as easy as breathing. The students are so appreciative of the chance to be able to make a real impact in the lives of their families, communities, and people. The patients appreciate that they are getting great healthcare without having to leave their jungle home areas. The Karen government is appreciative of the cooperation between Earth Mission Asia and local ruling groups in each of the districts of Karen State. And the people who support us appreciate the willingness of all the volunteers who have left behind their lives in their home countries to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
But ultimately for me, it is the students and their unflagging optimism in the face of difficulties and trials that make me want to be the best teacher possible and if believing that I am making a difference helps – done.” – Susan, EMA Year 1 Instructor