Fellowship Profiles

Joe Alexander

Christian Brothers Center for English and Computers - Yangon, Myanmar

by Joe Alexander |

Class of 2014
Jean Donovan Fellow  Summer 2013
Christian Brothers Center for English and Computers - Yangon, Myanmar

What was special about our time in Myanmar was exposure to a Buddhist culture uninfluenced by western values, and a wonderful community built on respecting the dignity of students as “children of God” through an empowering education.

First, as a westerner I saw great value and goodness in non-westernness- in putting others and community first and in valuing humility, simplicity and respect in all interactions. There was a naturalness and goodness to these interactions and this approach to life that I greatly admire and want to adopt. Second, I grew to appreciate the value and power of education. I saw students from rural communities whose parents pour everything into their child’s education and it’s potential to improve their lives. As our good friend Gordon said, “education is the key to our lives, there is no need to talk more.” I also came across wonderful teachers at the center, and one in particular named Jude who taught ethics and philosophy infused with his English lessons. He is a natural teacher driven to help his students live fulfilled and healthy lives. I often sat in on his classes to learn critical thinking and life lessons. I’m extremely grateful for this exposure to Jude and our conversations after class.

We heard many times that in terms of respect, “parents, teachers and God are on the same level. We were told that parents are included because they are thought of as our “first teachers,” and “without our teachers, we are nothing.” This led me to think about all the forms teachers have taken in my life and how without them I would be lost. It made me revere these influences and start to think about how and what I can teach others. I’m now considering teaching as a career.

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