Because of her mother, Anna Triska knew what she wanted to do with her life from the time she was in second grade. Triska’s mother is a preschool teacher, and ever since she was little she would help her mom with projects and setting up her classroom. From then on, she knew she wanted to be a teacher like her mom.
“I knew exactly what I wanted to be since second grade…and I have always known that because of her,” Triska said.
Triska is a junior at Augustana College and is in a class called Human Geography of Global Issues. In the class, students learn about human migration and issues people face when immigrating to a new country.
To apply that knowledge, Triska is in a small group with other classmates that meets with a World Relief family via google meets once a week. The family she meets with has been in the United States for about five years and has six kids ages 5-16. Triska said she loves getting to sit down with the kids in the family and play games, have fun and relax.
For the most part, Triska and her group work with the nine-year-old child, and she said it’s the highlight of her week. But more than it just being a fun experience, Triska said she’s gained some new insights about what it means to be a refugee.
“I think working with them has helped us apply that knowledge of what it means to immigrate from one country to another,” Triska said.
Triska also said it’s helped her gain valuable insight that will help her as a future teacher.
“As a future elementary school teacher, [this experience] helps me understand families that may have immigrated from a different country, where they are coming from and what their home would be like,” Triska said. “I think that helps me be more aware of my future students and what their home life would be like.”
For the most part, the children in the family speak English well, but the mother does not. Even so, the mother still helps the kids set up the call and sits with them throughout the duration of it.
“[She] just feels like this warm presence for the kids to just feel more comfortable to sit with us,” Triska said. “Because we are strangers and we are a lot older than they are, it can be intimidating, so it’s kind of nice to have her there just to reassure them that they are okay and that they are safe.”
Triska also said she’s told her own mother about her experience meeting with the World Relief family. Triska said her mom was excited that she had the opportunity to do something like this and that it’s something not a lot of classes would offer their students.
“She just kept saying, ‘that’s so cool, that’s so awesome,’” Triska said. “She just loves that we’re getting that experience and thinks it’s extremely beneficial for me as a future educator.”
Triska said that her mom is her best friend and biggest supporter, and that her mom has had an incredible impact on Triska’s life and who she is as a person.
“She has shown me what it truly means to care for another human being,” Triska said. “That has translated into me being such a people person and being a good support system for my friends and my other family members.
Written by Olivia Doak