ACT 1: Chem for the Win!
Sciences at our school are taught in English, but they must, at the same time, prepare the students to take Costa Rican Exit Exams in each subject. Yes, the class is taught in English; the exit exam is in Spanish. Beyond that, the Costa Rican curriculum has learning objectives that are very different – going deeper than a comparative curriculum in The States in some topics, while omitting other topics. For this reason, it is not as easy as bringing down an established American curriculum to use at LPDV. This is where I come in. The big goal is to have a high school chemistry curriculum that (1) meets both Costa Rican and American standards, (2) taught in English, and (3) with enough teacher’s resources that nearly any English speaker with a Science or Education degree could teach it.
Towards that goal, we just had a milestone. Our first group of students went through 2 years of Chemistry classes in English and just took their national exit exams. All the chemistry students passed, and our average score was 86%. This is a special point of pride, because the average of the physics group, which was taught by my mentor Matt Befus, was 84%. I’m so thankful that the chemistry curriculum is doing it’s job. But the work isn’t done. The next goal is making teacher’s resources that are helpful and robust so that any English speaker with a Science or Education degree could teach it.
ACT 2: Results
I’m extremely thankful that God has given me something that is often rarely seen in missions – results. He’s given me something tangible to point to and say, “I guess this is working.” Thank you, Lord. It even goes beyond Chemistry. Each year, scholarship students graduate from LPDV and are able to take call-center jobs. With these jobs, theses students can out earn their parents – in their first year out of high school. That is social mobility through education. Results.
Of course, our focus must not be on results. Our focus must be on Jesus Christ. What does that mean? Jesus inspired, invited, and commanded us to serve others, especially the poor, and especially other believers. When I wake up in the morning and consider our work here in Costa Rica, I don’t dream of test scores. I don’t dream of lab equipment or really cool PowerPoints. I rest in Jesus’ invitation to serve. “Offer yourself as a living sacrifice.” God, I want to give what I have to Your purposes.