Elizabeth Peloquin: A Happily Annoyed Servant
“Miss Peloquiiiiin!!” A second grader yells. “Yes, David?” Miss Peloquin responds. “I need heeeelp!!” David groans. “I’ll be right there” she calmly informs him. She patiently waits at his side while he stumbles through his journaling assignment, distractions arising at what seems like every moment. With a constant intensity, but hilariously entertaining children all around her, this, it turns out, is a very ordinary piece from a day in the life of Miss Elizabeth (Betsy) Peloquin. This year, she has served as a religion teacher and teaching aid in the grade school at St. John Paul II in northeast Minneapolis. The atmosphere at the school is lively to say the least, but at the same time, the a vibe that is familiar and homey. Every family is quite friendly, and there is humility in the community that you certainly do not encounter everywhere you go. Betsy has very much enjoyed serving this population, so much so, that she is leaning towards staying in the education field going forward.
Originally from Big Lake, Minnesota and a graduate of Ave Maria University, Betsy feels very much at home in a Minnesota Catholic school (despite her cursing of the snow and cold weather on the way to school every day). She went to a Catholic school herself growing up, so serving in a capacity where she is able to give back has been very life giving for her. Betsy is one of two educators this year who had a background in education prior to joining Teach for Christ.
“Being an education minor in college, I did not feel quite ready to step in right away as the main classroom teacher. Teach for Christ was the perfect opportunity for me! It has given me the experience and confidence I that has allowed me to be ready for my own classroom. I am hoping to stay in education going forward and continue to give back to these kids,” she adds with a peaceful smile and a laugh.
Though not its only ethnic group, St. John Paul II school has a predominantly Latino population (reaching about 80 percent). This is distinct from many of the other schools at which we serve. “It has been very interesting to learn about a brand-new culture in a way that is this up-close and personal,” Betsy says. “There are definitely challenges that go along with it, but the blessings make it well worth it.”
The grades at St. John Paul II range from kindergarten to eighth grade; so, to say that the atmosphere is lively would be an understatement. Betsy comes home after a long day and takes about a half an hour to sit on the couch and reflect before socializing with anyone. There are no boring moments for her during the day. At the end of each one, however, despite the inevitable frustrations and annoyances that pop up during the course of the day at a grade school and middle school, there are moments where she can’t help but smile or laugh to herself. Though paradoxical, her annoyances and her crosses every day are somehow fulfilling. “There is something about working with and for children that makes it all so worth it,” she says. “It is not something that you can explain unless you do it yourself.” Having served in this way, tired as she is, every night she goes to bed confident that, today, she has done something good.