Growing Pains

Hola amigos,

Being a teacher is an art. Since starting my job as an English Language Assistant, my appreciation for teachers and professors everywhere has grown tremendously. They wear a myriad of hats-from doctor, to mediator, to cheerleader, to entertainer, and they spend so much time outside of the classroom preparing lesson plans and grading materials. It truly is a labor of love. If you are reading this and are a teacher, THANK YOU for what you do. I am inspired and in awe of how you serve our society by elevating and expanding the consciousness of young people. I don’t understand why teachers aren’t paid more and given more respect in our society. What is more sacred and important than educating the future leaders of our society? 

I want to acknowledge the shooting that happened in Thousand Oaks, CA this past week. It scares me that these shootings have become almost “normal” in the U.S. It seems like every week there is a different location with innocent lives lost, leaving people wondering why this keeps happening. While I believe that we need to enforce stricter gun laws, I also think that these shootings have a deeper root that goes beyond simply changing our laws. To me, these shootings highlight the loneliness and isolation rampant in our modern society. These shooters are men who may suffer from mental health issues such as PTSD, but some of them are just men who fell through the cracks in our society and couldn’t find their way. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs illustrates that after our physiological and safety needs are met, we need love and belonging: friendship, family, a sense of connection. Without this sense of connection and community, what is the point of living? Whenever I hear about a shooting, I think about how the shooter was without love and belonging and what could have been done to prevent this tragedy. We need to change a lot of things to solve this issue of gun violence, but one of the ways we can start is by prioritizing a strong sense of community in our society. We can’t keep letting people fall through the cracks, instead we must come together and remember that we are all connected.

This week I feel like I had my initiation for becoming a teacher. I had to take over a classroom for one of the teachers who is on his honeymoon and it was chaos. Usually I am in the classroom with the teacher and they discipline the children when they get too talkative and disruptive, which happens a lot in Spain, but it was the first time I had to put my foot down and yell at the kids. I felt really bad, but it had to be done. 

Being abroad has been really eye-opening for me. I go back and forth between fighting myself and opening up and embracing the foreignness of everything. I love the freedom that comes with graduating college, but this blank canvas is daunting too. Most of the time I’m afraid to make a mistake, fail, color outside the lines, look stupid, or disappoint people. But I’m tired of living like this. Taking risks and embracing the unknown is new for me, but something that I want to continue exploring. This year in Madrid is all about Creation-exploration, discovery, courage, and figuring out what I want in life without the safety net of my home country, family, and routine. My focus from this point forward is to care less about what other people think, do my thing, and enjoy the ride! I hope you do the same.





“For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

3 thoughts on “Growing Pains

  1. Angela Zuidema

    Hola mi amor Amanda, You are loved and always will be. The shooting and fires in California has been tragic which goes to show the effects of lovelessness in our world. I hope that you will continue to find comfort, peace and joy wherever you are or be. As St. Therese of Lisieux said “May you trust GOD that you are exactly where you are meant to be. ” Lovingly always, Mommy


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