Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dispatches from my Classroom

I got a wonderful email on Saturday from Dave Carter, a friend and psychologist who just came back from Haiti. He did a lot of debriefing and counseling with our staff and students who had been through the trauma of the earthquake - wonderful work that was so needed. He stayed much of the time at our house but what I did not realize was that he also worked in my classroom. Here's part of what he wrote (shared with his permission):

I was aware of how much you miss your class. Several of the other teachers mentioned how much they miss their classrooms. I think for so many dedicated teachers the actual room - the way it is laid out and decorated - is like a second home... and it means so much.

At first I was down in the basement of the secondary school. Then I was kindly moved to one of the army air conditioned tents; in fact the pharmacy storage tent, and it was very nice and cool and the air much fresher. The basement backed on to the dump and both the school and US Army were using it and it attracted a goodly share of the mosquitoes in Haiti - most of whom have a preference for tender Canadian ankles.

Then, when the army took away their tents, I was moved into your classroom. Your name is on the door and while there are medical supplies there, I sat in a student desk and the person I met with did the same. One day, while waiting for a child to take a bathroom break, I wandered around your room and looked more closely.

I picked up a copy of 1984 and within a minute I fell right back into that wonderful book.... the clocks struck 13!

Then I noticed the board. And there was work put up in a lovely script (yours I presume).... and the date "Jan. 13, 2010." I guessed that is what you wrote before you closed up for the day and walked home...

I thought about that a lot. We go about "normal" days never knowing that for some reason, that date may be marked down as in some way extraordinary. Then I thought that your fingerprints are in and throughout that room, and that it is patiently waiting for you to fill it with learning. The boxes of "catheters - bladder - medium" will be replaced with children and their teacher....

How well I remember that afternoon, cleaning everything up, setting things in order, and right before leaving, writing the next day's date on the white board. And there it still is.

I love the image of my fingerprints in my room and the idea that some day I will be in there again, teaching students I love.

1 comment:

Janet said...

What a gift!