Saturday, May 9, 2015
Not Lost, Just Wandering
I taught these kids two years ago when I was volunteering as an assistant in 11th grade "Social Communication" classes in English. Their teacher had requested a volunteer. It turned out that she was pregnant and didn't feel well enough to be at school at least half the time.
Given the choice of going to school only when she was present or going no matter what, and teaching the classes myself, I chose to go. There was no book, no lesson plans either. I never knew in advance whether or not the teacher would be there, so like a good Girl Scout, I started preparing my own lesson plans "just in case."
If someone had previously told me that I would be teaching 16 year olds, I would have told them to have their head examined. But these 16-year olds were a dream, polite, respectful, and timidly interested in learning English. I spent the entire year in their classrooms and, because of their enthusiasm about English, I also initiated extra workshops on two levels. Level One was for those who needed reinforcement. Level Two was a conversation workshop for those who were already able to communicate in English.
I grew close to those students. Probably too close because, when the year ended, saying goodbye was heartbreaking.
The school had been sold and these kids, "my" kids, all had to move to different schools to complete their final year of high school. One young lady, a smiley girl who had always been excited about learning English, was also moving to a new area of Santiago.
On the final day that I was at school, I asked her where she would be going to school. She said, "I'm not going to school any more. I'm going to study at home."
I stared at her for a few seconds, thinking that this day would be the end of her education. Then, without warning, I suddenly burst into tears. Shocked, she gave me a hug and patted my back, murmuring, "It's okay, Miss Sally. Don't cry, Miss Sally," which only made me sob harder.
I hate losing track of a student, but since then, I had heard nothing from her nor about her...until last week when she "friended" me. I can't wait to hear how she's doing.
No more tears now. Can you see me smiling?