Dear readers, please meet my friend, colleague, and roommate, Tegan.

Tegan and I went to lunch one Saturday at a nursery/restaurant. After enjoying our meal, we wandered around enjoying the plants – including these absolutely gigantic cacti.

Tegan is one of my fellow TEFL (English) teachers here in Guatemala. Today you’ll get to know her a little bit, find out a bit of her story, and get another glimpse into life here through her perspective. 

Before coming to Guatemala, Tegan was working as a middle school math teacher in Dayton, Ohio. Teaching middle school can be difficult at the best of times, but when you’re doing it in the inner city as a beginner teacher, it can be downright draining. Tegan loved her students, but the teaching wasn’t what she had imagined it to be. She had also reached the extent of what the public school administration would let her do as a Christian teaching in their midst. Tegan has a heart very much focused on bringing people into the Kingdom of God, and her work at the middle school wasn’t giving her the opportunity to do this. Eventually, Tegan made up her mind to leave her school at the Christmas break of 2020 and look for what God might have in store for her next. 

During the week of American Thanksgiving, Dayton made the unique decision to close their public schools due to the most recent wave of Covid spreading through Ohio. They didn’t move to online classes; they just took a month of vacation. This was essentially summer break, taken early. (I know. It’s a mind-boggling decision.) Since Tegan had already been planning to leave the school, this felt like fortuitous timing. She did something she otherwise wouldn’t normally have done: she scrolled through her numerous unread emails. And there, waiting for her in God’s timing, was an email from Beth at Global Shore. (Not me – our boss, Beth, the TEFL director here!)

Tegan had sent an inquiry email via a missions website some time earlier and had more or less forgotten about Global Shore. But God was working out the details behind the scenes. 

Within days, Tegan had interviewed with Beth, been hired, and began the process of planning to move to another country. 

Having a very English name in a non-English country means sometimes you look at your Starbucks cup and just laugh. Tegan = Steven?

So now, Tegan works here at GSO with me! We live in the ministry house in the school compound. We go for a 5k run through the hills together each Saturday morning. And while I teach middle school English classes here, Tegan has discovered a love for the primary grades. She’s responsible for the JK through grade 3 classes. 

I wish pictures did a better job of depicting how steep hills are… the second half of this run is no joke!

Tegan refers to her new work as being a “part time Dora the Explorer”. We joke that with our newfound video-editing skills, we will be able to have part-time side hustles as YouTubers. Like me, Tegan has the students of staff members in person three days a week, and around those classes and on the days without students, she’s busily writing lesson plans for both in-person and at home students, recording videos with her cohost Mr. Monkey, editing videos (complete with a lot of clip art for those primary students), grading student work, and all of the host of other things that make up a teacher’s life. Tegan is a wonderful primary teacher, playing games with her students, engaging them in different learning experiences, figuring out how they best learn, and discovering all of the things that work differently in primary classes. I am so glad for Tegan – and I also wish her all the best. I will stick happily with my middle school classes, thank you very much! 

Tegan’s Spanish is much more advanced than mine, which has given her the desire and opportunity to jump wholeheartedly into a connection group (or small group) from the church. She loves to worship, loves to serve, and loves to see Christ glorified. 

I’m so glad we’re here together, colleagues, roommates, and now friends. 

On our way to church

Tegan is also finishing up her fundraising for this year. If you have even $10 or $20 extra that you can donate to her costs here, I know she would appreciate it! (And no, she didn’t ask me to say that!) 

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