January 26, 2010

Calling from Hawaii

I received a phone call this afternoon as my class was preparing to dismiss for the day.  It is not unusual to get a call at this time.  Someone may be leaving in a different way, someone may have to leave a little early, there is always something the office needs to let me know.

But today's phone call was different.  It was my Korean student who left last week!  Her family decided to return to Korea via a side trip to Hawaii.  Miss Pink Glasses was calling me from Honolulu to say hello.  She misses us.  She misses me.  And I miss her.  She told me that she spent the last couple of days at Waikiki Beach. She told me it was beautiful there and it was warm.   I told her here it had snowed earlier in the morning.    Her family is leaving tomorrow to make the last leg of their trip to Korea.

It was so nice to hear from her.  I hope she will transition well back to her Korean life when she gets home. 

Miss Pink Glasses will always be in my heart.

Losing my Kids

I have had 5 Korean children in my class this year.  Two of them are recent arrivals -- what I fondly call "right off the boat."   All of their fathers are visiting scholars at the state university and they come in January/February to stay for 1 year. 

So I will be losing 3 of my kids by February 1 as they travel back to their home country.  As I have really only known these children well since late August, you would think that it would not be a difficult thing to have them move.  You would be wrong.  These kids have wriggled themselves deep into my heart and my heart breaks to see them leave knowing that I will most likely never see the again.

One of my students left at Christmas break.  It was difficult to say our goodbye's, but it was also a busy time of year and everyone, me included, were looking forward to a break. 

My 2nd student left last week.  This was my little girl with the pink glasses. She was torn about leaving.  She looked forward to going home to her grandparents, friends, and home.  And yet, she was sad to leave her friends here.   I became emotional as I thought about her leaving.  At home, I would think about it and tears would come.  She left last Friday and I after all the kids left I did cry.  She will be missed.

My 3rd student is leaving this week.  She is smart cookie and has been so much help with the two new girls who speak so little English.  I have known her family the entire year they have been in America and it pains me to see them go.  I know that I will shed more tears when she leaves us.

These kids are wonderful students.  I don't know if it is the Asian culture that makes them so wonderful as a student.  They value education.  They are extremely respectful and always do their work with great effort.  They are neat and organized in their work.  They are impecable.   One of the specials teacher who works with my class jokingly asked me why we couldnt send a couple of the other kids away and keep these ones.  I say jokingly, but it is a thought I have had as well.   Sometimes I wish that our American students showed similar diligence and effort int ehir schoolwork and attitudes.

This is the first year I have had ELL students who return home mid-year.  That could be why it is so tough on me.  I may get used to it.  But for now, my heart is heavy. 

January 24, 2010

Fire Drill Schedules

We had an unannounced fire drill last week.  That means that we were right in the middle of math when the fire alarm began screeching.  The kids were good about getting up and lining up to go outside quickly. I stood at the door making sure that all got out.  

Did I forget to tell you that I really hate fire drills.  Although I realize they are needed and it is a safety issue--is it really necessary that we have so many? 

Ah yes, back to our fire drill last week.  It has been raining every day.  In fact, the administrator who is in charge of fire drills said this drill was conducted because there was a break in the clouds.  Well, some classes go out to the parking lot.  Some classes go out to the playground.  But we go out into the back yard by the trees.  That means that the rain soaked ground squished under our feet as we trampled out there with mud splashing up on our legs.  The temperature hovered around 40 degrees and we stood out there freezing.  Kids were talking and bouncing around while they rubbed their arms to get warm. 

Administrator came out to verify we were all in the right place and didn't like seeing bouncy,talkative kids, so we got a reprimand.  While gosh sakes...it was COLD. 

I hate fire drills.  

January 16, 2010

Building a Relationship

I have a new student that has been with me less than two weeks and we are still in the stage of getting to know each other.  We are building a relationship so that he will trust me and know that I have his best interests at heart.  In turn, I want to know that he will give his best effort for me when I ask him to do something that may or may not be difficult for him.

This past week I was wearing a necklace that had a cross on it.  My new friend came up to me and asked me if I were a Christian.   I told him that I was and watched his face to see if he had any other questions.  He stayed near me with a pondering look on his face.  So, I asked him if he was one.  He replied, " I dunno.  Sometimes. " 

Another piece of the puzzle to help me know him.  Do I know what it means?  Not really.  But it is a piece that will help me understand him and reach him.