By Kalan Gott
Today was our last day at Shine Zambia Reading Academy. It is hard to put into words the feelings I have gone through in a year. If you looked at my journal from last year I never thought I would be able to make this trip again. It was hard to encounter such poverty and so many children in need of so much. As the year went on I found myself longing to return. I wanted to be a part of The A to Z Literacy Movement and help make whatever difference I could. Now when you look in my journal all you will see is notes on how any moments I have with the Zambian people are moments I treasure. Yes, there are a lot of challenges facing the people of Zambia. However, I do not see those challenges on the faces of the educators we work with. Instead I see in these teachers a passion and dedication that I felt when I graduated from Illinois State with my teaching degree. It is pure passion. Not over thinking or analyzing what goes in to education, not worrying and focusing endlessly on scores and numbers, meetings and protocols. It is passion for children, growth, life long learning, and collaboration. This is the passion I thirst to remember and work to recapture thanks to the teachers of Zambia. The teachers here have fewer resources and less formal training and yet they demonstrate all of the qualities I seek to poses. Teaching love, persistence, creativity. Teaching-a life long pursuit. I don’t know what my next few hours, days, weeks, months, and years will bring, but I hope and pray they bring me closer to being the teacher I see when I visit these schools.