Thursday, August 26, 2010


This morning my husband had a doctor's appointment (for a physical), so he left the house at 6 AM. He always makes me a cup of tea every morning. Of course, I am perfectly capable of making myself a cup of tea, but since he wasn't there I just didn't bother. It was only a few minutes ago that I made the connection between that and how sleepy I have been feeling all day.

When I got to school, the power was off (as in, the generator hadn't been turned on yet), but the wireless internet was working (since it runs on battery backup). Later in the day, the power was working fine but the wireless quit. I was disappointed because we were going to have an Open House later in the afternoon and I wanted to be online while waiting for parents to come see me. As it was, I probably got much more work done than I otherwise would have, and came home with all my grading already finished.

It was good to meet with parents at the Open House. I had met a few of the new ones already, but before I had their kids' identities firmly in my head. Now, after a week and a half of school, I know exactly who they are talking about when they say their children's names. I had taken up information sheets from the kids, including the question about where they had studied after the earthquake, but it was fascinating hearing the stories directly from the parents. Many told me that January 2010 was the first time their child had studied in English, when they were evacuated to the States. Imagine that: switching school systems, countries, and languages, without warning, after a traumatic earthquake, when you're in middle school. It is amazing how well those kids are functioning in English now. (Many of them tell me they learned English from TV, and even those who were in English school for the first time this year could speak some; but it's a very different thing to go to school and do academic work in the language.)

It's still early in the school year, and I may be eating these words soon enough, but it seems to me that we have a very good spirit on campus right now. Many of the parents told me how happy their children are to be back to something "normal" and how kindly they have been welcomed by the returning students. It feels as if we are all just a little bit more grateful for everything, just a little more aware of how quickly it can all be gone.

"Thank you for being in Haiti," one mother said to me. Honestly, it is a privilege to be here. It is an honor to serve these families who are so full of courage, and who are getting on with their lives and rebuilding their country.

After we got home it started raining and then the roof started leaking. But we aren't in a tent right now, so it's hard to feel too upset.


Tricia said...

I was confused, but I think I got it straightened out. Those particular kids had not studied in English because they weren't your students before, right? I mean, you all teach in English, right? There. I think I got it.

On a different note, this week's Frazz comic strip made me think of your lost lesson plans notebook. It starts here:
(although some of the humor might be lost if you aren't already familiar with the characters!)

Ruth said...

Yes, Tricia, I was referring to families who are new to our school. We have many returning families as well.

Thanks for the cartoon too!