Suki S.

As Interviewed by Lili B., March 23, 2019

Suki S.: In Her Own Words

My parents were educators. My mother was a teacher and my father was a teacher but my father was the first in his family to go to college and his family they were coal miners and they worked in a glass factory and they worked in steel mines. So because they didn't have an education they worked in industries that were extremely hard on them. So since he got an education he got to be a teacher and a school administrator himself which gave him a much better lifestyle. People who are more educated have better health outcomes they have fewer mental problems you know they just have access to a better life. So i think it is really important whether your a coal miner's child or a bankers child that you have the chance to get a good education.

I was selected to be a math teacher a middle school math teacher and being a teacher in swaziland what i noticed about my students was that they were overcoming a lot of hardships to be able to come to school. First of all their parents had to pay school fees like tuition and it was a hardship for some parents. Once in awhile a student would come for a semester because they didn't have the school fees. They were walking and they didn't have school busses they were walking long distances to school they didn't have electricity so it was hard for them to do any kind of homework. They often didn't have the supplies that they needed so they had a lot of barriers to their education. So in this country kids also have barriers to their education and some of them are similar its not school fees but they might not have good teachers depending on where they live they might be not have experience in their lives with their families that help them to understand the curriculum so like if you never get the chance to travel its harder to understand and appreciate geography sometimes that kind of thing. So that's sort of a universal thing that education breaks barrier and lets you have a better life and the lack of access can can really hold people back.

Peace corp had a training program they had a three month training program where we learned some of the language that was spoken in swaziland and the culture and the customs and we also learned the curriculum that they used in that country. Instead of having… here we have like geography sorry geometry for a whole year and then algebra for a whole year and then calculus for a whole year they had this this method of teaching where they had a small bit of each each year and so by the time they finished school they should have been good at everything because they had to take a final exam to get out of high school basically. Yeah i got trained i didnt think three months is definitely not enough training to be a good teacher just cause i had a bachelors degree and a couple of months of training it wasn't really enough. I wished that i had gone there as a trained teacher like if i had already been a teacher in the united states i would have been a better teacher there. So that was a kind of not socially just thing to do to go and put somebody inexperienced like me in a classroom over there just like here it is not a socially just thing to put an inexperianced teacher in a classroom with kids that have more educational needs but the beginning teachers usually end up in harder to teach schools like where kids don't have all those advantages so that was not a just thing that i did and i only kind of realized that later in life. They should have been recruiting people who were already teachers instead of people who had just finished college and didn't even have a teaching background.

I realized that education was extremely important if you cared about having a good life everybody should be able to have a good education but you can also see that there are things that get in the way that there are barriers. So when i came back to the states I got a masters in business administration to manage things but i wanted to go into nonprofit so but i didn't want to be a teacher i wasn't a great teacher was an okay teacher but i didn't want to be one but i wanted to support educations so when i found CIS (communities in schools) it was the perfect thing. It was helping kids to get an education but i wasn't actually teaching. It's like the missing ingredient for a lot of kids there's something that's getting in the way. I mean they're smart but there's something in the way. Anything they could need CIS helps with all those things.