October 26, 2011
Living in a war-torn land is one thing; Teaching young ones who have grown up one is another altogether.
Yesterday, in the midst of my frazzled-teacher, multi-tasking state, I pulled out my most recent stack of returned assignments. I was prepared to “get ‘er done” as quickly as humanly possible, so as to move on to the next task on my to-do list. But that was not to happen:
I started to quickly read the first one, then stopped, stunned. I read more slowly, digesting the words. I finished, resolving to be more attentive to, more patient with, this student in the future.
And I moved on to the next, grateful to continue to more “normal” 12-year-old fare. But no. No normal here.
Page after page, student after student, I was forced to realize that in this place, in this school, there could be no “normal” when it comes to the question of “life problems.”
I had assigned them a project, as part of our “Creative Problem-Solving” unit, of writing about a problem in their own lives that they could take steps to analytically examine and move towards solving.
They wrote of longing to leave this country, their home, in hopes of a better place to belong: “ . . . so we can have a good life.”
They wrote of not understanding why they could not go, and of why the rulers did the things they did in this land.
They wrote of not knowing why some in their family did not want to leave.
They wrote of lives in which what is known is that which needs to be changed.
I took no photos to illustrate this post. No pretty pictures here. But I will say that I did take snapshots of beauty as well: this time the beauty of a library full of cat-in-the-hat-hatted preschoolers, listening eagerly to story time. Life may be hard. But it is still beautiful.