My name is Ana Natalia Ramírez, the Mexican that crossed the ocean to be an educational assistant. I was 17 years old when I went to the UK to be an educational assistant. It was the first time I went away from home for more than a couple of weeks. I had great expectations and I can say without doubt they were all surpassed. I went there to give and to serve, and I thought I was going to be the one making a change in people’s lives. Well, it turns out the one changed ended up being me. Being an educational assistant was a complete experience, for it was not limited to some hours of the day, but it became a way of living.
Since I arrived to this unknown, rainy and beautiful place where tea is more important than water, I felt at home. I was received by a host family, beautiful people. Bridget and Lionel became my second parents, my tutors, my teachers and my friends. Since day one they adopted me into their family, they loved me, counselled me and, maybe without realising it, they built in me a character that is part of who I am today. In this house, I also found three sisters. I had been an only child for years but God took me to the other side of the world to give me sisters that have been friends close to my heart since. Ivanna, Minnie and Anna taught me how to be a true friend. They showed me that love can be expressed in many ways, they taught me about community, about trust, diligence and commitment; they trusted me with their friendship and they let me in into their lives. So as you can see, this British house became my second home.
In the same way, since I arrived to the school, Maranatha Christian School (MCS), I felt welcome and part of something greater than I had imagined. I arrived to the staff room a Monday morning and I found a room filled with teachers who were not only concerned about the academic performance of the students, but their physical, emotional and spiritual well being. I had never seen such passion, such concern, such drive. I met beautiful people that I love and admire. I met a wonderful man of God, the headteacher Mr. Medlock, a man that I can now call friend. Mr. Medlock showed me that authority is found in humility. I have never seen a man with more authority than him nor with a kinder spirit. He taught me about prudence, joy, love and unconditional kindness. I feel so grateful for the time I had to learn from him and from all the teachers in the school, for all of them showed me the same loving character. Also the parents of the students were an important part of my time in MCS. Wonderful people! They were heroes. They all gave of their time, talents and effort to sow in their children. I remember seeing parents arrive with mops to clean the school, always with a smile on their face; and I remember thinking to myself “If they do it gladly, Why shouldn’t I?” They taught me about service and the importance of having the right attitude regardless the job. Finally, of course I have to talk about the students. I had the chance to be in all the learning centres, which allowed me to learn from different age groups. The young ones with their simple faith showed me the importance of being like children and of forgiving easily. The older ones showed me what a grateful heart looks like. Actually, I have a quick story about this. One day I decided to clean all the desks of this learning center without telling anyone. Nevertheless, I don’t know how this boy Harry found out, but he approached me and thanked me for cleaning his desk. His grateful heart touched me so much, I’ve not forgotten that moment, and I don’t think I ever will. The oldest ones gave me a great lesson about respect and friendship. Many of them were my age or even older than I, but they always showed me respect and I couldn’t be more thankful. They trusted me and opened their hearts and I now have them as friends across the distance. So, as I said at the beginning, I arrived thinking I was going to give, but I actually ended up receiving. I was given a great opportunity; the opportunity to learn by teaching. Everyday was a lesson. I had the chance to keep learning from the PACE’s as I taught them. I had the opportunity to mould my character as I intended to mould my student’s character. I was blessed when I tried to be a blessing. I will never forget my time in MCS, I will never forget my time as an educational assistant, for it was a turning point in my life and it´s now part of who I am.
Six years have passed and the lessons learned during my time there are much deeper than I thought they were going to be six years ago. I remember my time as an educational assistant as a time of growth. I am not saying I didn’t have difficult days, but they were never a stumbling block for I knew, with all my heart, that I was living in God´s will, the best place to live. Six years later I am an International Relations graduate of one of the best universities in Mexico and I am currently working in the French Embassy in Mexico City. As I said, what I learned as an educational assistant has accompanied me through the years. I learned to serve others, to help others and to live life to the fullest. Being an educational assistant was a great training for what was going to come. On one hand as a result of this international experience God made it clear that my major was going to be in International Relations. On the other hand, the learning I had with my host family and at the school gave me tools to face the challenges at University. I remember Mr. Medlock making this question in a Monday devotional : “What is the most important decision you will make in your life?” I remember the room was quiet for some seconds, maybe minutes; and I remember I thought to myself “Well, the most important decision will be to go to university, or to get married” but as this thoughts were in my mind, he broke the silence and said : “The next one. The most important decision you will take in your life will be the next one.” This simple teaching has been in my mind since. I faced many challenges at university, and I had to remind myself that the next decision was going to be the most important. I had to remind myself that not cheating, that not following the crowds or not yielding my principles were the most important decisions when they came.
This lifestyle of service has been a blessing to my life that did not end when I returned to Mexico.
As an educational assistant I learned to be dependable on God, I learned to trust him despite of the uncertainty, I learned not despise the humble beginnings, I learned to follow instructions, I learned that serving is more rewarding than being served and I learned that God´s will always take you somewhere where you can be a blessing in order to bless you.
I don’t know what you are living today. I don’t know if you are facing uncertainty, fear, or doubt; but I encourage you to look for God´s will, and if God tells you to be an educational assistant, do it without hesitation for it is a wonderful adventure that will last a lifetime.
Interested in being an educational assistant? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.