Rachele grew up in Lemuel’s original program in Port-au-Prince, so we have known her a long time. This is her second year teaching first grade on the Plateau. Here, she tells a little bit about herself…
Q: What gives you the most joy in your classroom?
Rachele: My greatest joy is when I see that what I do is making a difference in the kids lives–when they can capture and apply what I show them and do some things on their own.
Q: What is the greatest difficulty you confront?
Rachele: There are always a few kids that really have difficulty comprehending. Sometimes, it seems you have tried everything, and they still can’t capture what you are teaching them. I have noticed, though, that usually when they repeat the class, it suddenly clicks, and they do really well.
Q: What is your favorite subject to teach?
Rachele: Last year it was French, but this year, I have really come to enjoy teaching math.
Q: If you could describe your current class of children with one word, what word would you choose?
Rachele: Shining. The kids are very energetic and engaging. And I can see that each one has a special way in which they shine, even if there may be other things with which they struggle.
Q: In your opinion, what importance does a teacher have within society?
Rachele: A teacher has the job of molding children, who are very fragile. What you show them is what they will internalize. A teacher is a helper, a parent, a friend to help guide the child and show them that they can become something in their future.
Q: What teacher had the greatest influence on you? How?
Rachele: I had a woman teacher in fourth grade who focused a lot on handwriting. In those days, people didn’t typically give handwriting much importance. She had an impact on me because of her patience and love. She made me start thinking that being a teacher and educating kids would be a good thing to do. Also, she taught me the importance of handwriting!
Q: In the future, what do you hope the kids who are in your class today can offer their country that the previous generation was not able to offer?
Rachele: I hope they will be a generation that values and sees the importance of education. I also hope that they will bring societal improvements in areas like personal health/hygiene as well as how to comport oneself in a variety of situations (savoire vivre).
Q: The first grade class is unique in that the kids have just left kindergarten and are experiencing their first year of primary school. Are their any special dynamics or challenges for you as the first grade teacher?
Rachele: For one thing, we focus a lot on reading and writing (in both French and Haitian Creole) and math. It is essential that they have a very good foundation in these subjects before they continue to advance through the grades. Generally, from September to December, they are figuring out that they can’t function in first grade the same way they did in Kindergarten. I have to take the time to help them understand and adjust.
Q: What importance does your faith in Jesus Christ have in your life?
Rachele: He is my Lord. He is the one who gives me the capacities that I have. He is my guide, my help.