At last, the return


Ashley Vazquez

Downey High School Geometry and Algebra 2 teacher, Mr. Bradfield returns with a broad experience of living in Costa Rica, during the year of 2013. “It was really tight; we knew we had to budget, but we still did whatever we wanted,” Bradfield said. “We [his family] camped on the beach for a week, spent time in the Nicoya Peninsula, explored some of the volcanoes – all that stuff; it was pretty great.”

Vivian Buenrostro, Co-Editor-in-Cheif

After spending a year living in Monte Verde, Costa Rica teaching high school students, math teacher Mr. Bradfield returned to the native halls of Downey High School this fall.


During the 2013 school year, Bradfield took it upon himself to look for a school in Costa Rica that was in need of a math teacher. Because Cloud Forest School has a turnover of hiring a new set of teachers every two years, the timing appeared to be perfect. The only set back was the fact that the pay was about four dollars an hour, but the cost of living remained the same as it is here. Being conscious of this, Bradfield and his family willingly stayed on board with their adventure of branching out and set out to embark on a year’s journey in Costa Rica.


A former student of Bradfield’s witnessed his excitement prior to leaving the states.


“He would always say how satisfying it was teaching for the unfortunate,” James Northcott said. “It was cool hearing him talk about it because he seemed really hyped for his trip.”

Before the math teacher’s school year took off, he imagined a small, humble set of kids who were going to make the experience a mutually amazing journey, but as classes began, Bradfield was caught off guard by the differences in character amongst the students in comparison to students here at Downey.


“It was a very different attitude than being here, it was mostly like one of entitlement,” Bradfield said. “I think the reason is not because of where I taught, but rather that I taught at a small private school run by parents.”


Assuming that because the kids that attended Cloud Forrest were on scholarships, they had to have done something to receive an opportunity of that degree was a crucial misconception Bradfield had made. It appeared that those students were on scholarship because of need, such as a living location, not because of merit.


The math teacher did find certain difficulties with the culture shock and the level of discipline being practiced, but he took on this opportunity as a chance to grow as a teacher and learn to let the minor things go.


Admitting that it has always been a goal of his to achieve and implement a new level of patience in his everyday teaching routine, Bradfield recognizes that his trip allowed him to progress towards achieving that goal.


Classroom neighbor, Ms. Cleek, took note of Bradfield’s improved mindset after his return.


“We had an ant infestation during the beginning of the school year, and he didn’t make it a big deal; he was so mellow about the whole thing,” Cleek said. “He then told us about the animals that would sneak into his classroom and eat his lunch.”


Bradfield did come across bright, enjoyable students just as if he would be teaching at Downey. The administration at Cloud Forest had made it clear to the new set of teachers that their new job was going to include a friendlier approach when teaching these students. Becoming approachable was not a tough transition for Bradfield. Students would stop by his home for either tutoring or a simple visit. They also were on a first name basis, something that is usually seen as a form of disrespect in the states was entirely normal in Costa Rica.


“There were major differences, but I can’t deny that I didn’t look forward to coming back to Downey,” Bradfield said. “I really love teaching here.”


Although the trip proved to be a memorable one, Bradfield is certain that Monte Verde is more of a place to visit rather than to teach. He feels that teaching is best suited for classroom C-105.