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INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL APPOINTMENTS

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How to Prepare for the Unknown

By Wyatt Franz

04/13/2021

How to Prepare for the Unknown

This is the second piece in a series about the experience of teaching in Myanmar over the past year, between a pandemic and a coup.


 


The other day, as a group of families converged on my school’s campus for a friendly game of kickball, one of my colleagues asked, “Hey you know that bird that you wrote about? Does it kind of sound like an ambulance?”


The question caused me to pause for a moment because it wasn’t something I had thought about. But as I pondered it further I replied, “Yes, it kind of does sound like that.”


Hearing an ambulance makes one immediately think of an emergency. As an educator, the sound also makes me think of preparedness.


Right now in Yangon, we are in the heart of what is known as the “hot” season—what we commonly refer to as summer. New flowers are popping, and what is most notable are the green orbs hanging from the trees that crowd the skyline. Walking to school, I have noticed more and more of these mango trees, and like every year, this crop will be a bountiful one.


I have looked forward to these daily walks to and from school. They are not only a form of exercise, but when enjoyed with company (usually my wife, Tonia), they are time to talk about what is going on. Which right now has been changing daily here in Myanmar.


Our school made the decision to go virtual for the rest of the school year. As a result, the school has also decided to fly us out of the country in a few weeks’ time, since most embassies have advised us to leave if possible. Many of our expat families have also made the decision to leave, which has definitely changed the dynamics of our classrooms. Teachers here are still doing a masterful job educating while also navigating the difficulties of losing students. Everyone knows that whether we have one student or twenty in our classes, the “classroom” environment we create and what we do in it matters. Perhaps this is the preparedness I mentioned earlier.


Yet, no matter what we think, nothing prepares us for an uncertain future. No one knows how things in Myanmar will look in six months. So while we know our school’s numbers for next year look to be down, many of us don’t know how low they actually are.


Prior to taking the job here, we had pondered taking a year off, so that thought suddenly came back to the forefront of our minds. However, we mostly felt it was important to fulfill our contracts, and our kids had finally started to see this as a place they knew as home.


In the end, we didn’t make the cut, and so now we are facing even more uncertainty. As a teacher of 21 years, it is hard to plan for this stuff.


So we hang our hats on the things we know. There will be another job. Our kids continue to go to school, whether online or in person. There will be other places to live. And as far as my family goes, we will always have each other. That is what we are prepared for.


Meanwhile in Myanmar, the mangoes are ripening and soon will fall, as will the rain. Here’s hoping for a better tomorrow for the people of this country.


Wyatt currently teaches elementary physical education at The International School of Yangon in Myanmar.




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Comments

04/26/2021 - Twinky
YOU ARE A COMPELLING WRITER THAT TAKES US, THE
READER, RIGHT INTO THE FEELING OF WALKING IN YOUR SHOES!
A VISIT TO YOUR
STREAM OF CONSCIENCE
IS LIKE A FRESH CUP OF
DEEPLY BREWED COFFEE.
I LOVE THE WAY YOU WRITE!


04/16/2021 - Fatty McFatface
Thinking about you and your family brother! Hope this transition goes smoothly for you all.

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