There is a cliché about teachers. They say “those who can’t do, teach.” I am currently working as a Pre-k and Kindergarten teacher in a bilingual school in a small town in Haiti. Haiti is not even a third world country, but a fourth world country, so you imagine how poor it is. I am sure everyone has heard lies such as it is dangerous. Please do not believe the media.

Being a teacher is not something you do because your dreams fail. It is a dream. It was mine. I knew I wanted to become a teacher since before my junior year of high school. I love it and I would not trade it for any other job. Sometimes, I want to rip my hair out when my kids are a little out of control, but I love them. I work in an amazing community. A couple days ago, I came in to the first and second grade class, and this little girl comes up to me and hugs me and looks at me and tells me, “Miss Flora, you are beautiful.” At that moment my heart broke and I told her I loved her and she was so beautiful. These kids do not hear that enough.

Every weekday morning, I wake up at 6am to try to change the lives of my kids. We need more teachers in the world who care and are dedicated, but especially in Haiti. The school I work for is the only bilingual school in the town I live in, as we are a small town and not the capital. I became a teacher to impact these kids and change their lives. I want them to be able to learn English and French and get any job they want. I want to see these kids succeed, that is why I am a teacher. When I see that one of my students knows the material, I am proud of all of my students. This is why I work hard. Teaching is one of the hardest jobs out there, and you have to have the heart, skill, knowledge, and desire to do it.

I am also currently also back at school to get my degree in disability studies because one day I hope to open a school for children with disabilities in Haiti, as there are no real resources for that. Try being a teacher and being a full time student. I get up at 6am, review lesson plans, print out extra materials I may need for the day, work through my lunch period, bring work home, and do my own school work, lesson planning, and so much more. It is exhausting, but I love my job more than anything in this world. It is who I am.

People ask what I do when they meet me? I am a teacher because I want to change children’s lives. I get to make a difference. I may not be a doctor who is saving lives, but I am developing the brains and character of future doctors, lawyers, politicians, and more.

Flora Cross is an elementary teacher working at a bilingual school in Haiti. She grew up in Haiti and returned after many years of absence. She has travelled the world with her journalist father so writing has always come extremely naturally. She is currently enrolled in the Disability Studies here at CUNY SPS. Flora hopes to open a school in Haiti for children with disabilities.