Teacha Be Lernin’

On Wednesdays we are joined at recess by the other pre-k class, and the Head Start class. While playing on the ladder-bridge, K.K. slipped and fell. His older sister (by about 10 months) rushed to his side to help him up. She wrapped both her arms around his neck from behind and pulled. K.K. resisted her help. They struggled.

From the other side of the playground equipment I yelled, “Marisol, let go of your brother!” She paid me no mind. “Marisol!” I yelled, trying to navigate around the equipment and through 39 pre-k kids. “Let go of your brother!” K.K. was gagging, and struggling to get away. Marisol kept trying to lift him.

“Marisol!” I yelled one more time. I should have had my hands on her by then, but Ursula and Ariel grabbed hold of me and tried to redirect me to the monkey bars, where they needed assistance crossing.

Mr. Jim was approaching Marisol and K.K. from the opposite direction, but I reached them — finally –, just seconds ahead of him. “You’re choking your brother. Let him go!” Even with my hand on her shoulder, Marisol ignored me. I couldn’t reach K.K.. He was underneath the ladder-bridge. I didn’t want to pull on Marisol while she had K.K. by the throat. Inspiration hit. “Mari!” I snapped, “Le’go your brudda now!”

She released him instantly. Mr. Jim, one knee on the ground as he reached for K.K., stared up at me with his mouth open. I shrugged and grinned, “Ya jus godda know how talk da language,” I said.

The Passions of Youth

The speech therapist came in and picked up Chez for his bi-weekly session.  Most work sessions last a half hour and Chez comes back happily sporting a new sticker which he shows off to anybody who will admire it.  Today was just a bit different.

Chez left as usual — happy to be with Ms. Jillian and skipping along at her side.  When they returned I was sitting on the floor playing ball with K.K. and Jay.  I looked up as Chez came through the door holding Ms. Jillian’s hand and hopping, as usual.  Chez looked across the room at me and his face lit up like sunshine.

“Oh!” He shrieked. “I missed you!”  And he flew across the room, burrowed into my lap, claimed a death grip on my neck, hugged me and kissed me.  Then just as quick he let me go and ran to K.K. and Jay waving his hand, “See my steeker?”

One Hard Monday

There was a lot of crying in class today.  The kids even did some of it.  Chez went home early, sick.  Analee came in crying and curled up in my arms for cuddling and rocking.  K.K. finished the day the way Analee started it.

Cass would periodically dissolve in tears.  When asked what was wrong she would wail, “Nothing!”  And she definitely did not want to be hugged and cuddled.

Harold spent most of the day struggling to stay awake and was the first asleep at nap time.  Candy was quiet, except when she was whining and rubbing her eyes.  Only Kevin and Gordy seemed to be alert, but they were both full of ornery and in no mood for lessons.

Gordy told me he didn’t want to take a nap.  I told him I did, and if he didn’t mind — since he wouldn’t need them — I’d use his pillow and blanket.  He changed his mind, decided to nap after all and went to sleep within moments.  Kevin said I could have his blanket and pillow, but once he got his pallet made he crawled in it and went to sleep without giving me another thought.  I had to stay up and do paper work.

Then I came home where nothing greeted me except for a pile of dirty laundry.  Pft.  I finished reading a wrenching book and started another that promises to be just as emotional.  Is the weekend here yet?

Aunty

Ms. Angel has a new job.  She no longer works in our classroom.  She has passed the required college courses and is now a substitute teacher.

David calls Ms. Angel’s replacement, “Aunty.”  That is the generic honorific women here in Hawaii  are called by instead of “ma’am”. The thing is, Ms. Angel’s replacement is Mr. Jim.  David can’t seem to manage Mr. Jim or “Uncle” (which is what the other kids call Jim) so Jim just answers, he says that is easier than confusing David.

At lunch on Friday Jim was standing over the table waving his arms.  He had napkins flapping between his fingers as he tried to keep the flies off the food (the lunchroom doors were open).   Suddenly several napkins fluttered away.  As I picked them off of plates I asked, “So, is this your version of the dance of the seven veils?”

David said, “Aunty, open my milk please.”

Jim reached down, grabbed the milk carton and proceeded to open it.  To me he said, “That’s a woman’s dance!  Do you really think it would suit me?”

Jim is a handsome, nineteen year old Hawaiian boy who stands over six feet tall and has shoulders about three feet wide.  There is nothing delicate, petite or Fatima-like about him.  I looked at the milk carton in his hands, shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know, Aunty, it just might.”

Jim looked startled, glanced at the milk carton and knelt down so he was eye-to-eye with David, “Say, Uncle –“

Changes

Kelly and Happy came to us on loan. Their school was overcrowded. They had no room, and no teacher.

Things were rearranged. Classes were combined. Room was made. A teacher was hired.

Today we said good-bye to Kelly and Happy. Now our classroom is missing a measure of nonsense and a measure of sunshine. I hope their new teacher loves them as much as they were loved by their old teacher.

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I interviewed for a new job today. Starting next July I will be teaching at a new school — 5th grade!

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Sorry this is so late and I didn’t have a chance to visit your blogs. Today was very busy. I promise I will see you sometime tomorrow.