raft

December 8, 2012

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student story reading 004
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I was supposed to start telling my classes that I won’t be here next semester. It was in my plans for the week. But somehow the departure speech stuck in my throat; instead I almost felt sheepish about how much fun I was having with the lessons. The day’s technology issues forced me to change my lessons anyway, so I was able to justify the switch to. But really, it was the most perfect sort of closure plan I could have made. I introduced it as a way to see if they’ve learned from the story-telling I’ve demonstrated for them over the semester. Splitting them into groups of 4, they were instructed to follow my example of reading each story in a way that would captivate a younger audience. Each story I was using came with appropriate velcro figures that you affix to an apron as you tell the tale. When I demonstrated the show, I wore the apron; but when the students took over, they just held up the apron like a screen. This was intended for practical purposes, considering the size of the apron compared with that of the children. It turned out to be a wise call for another reason, however: from the reactions of others who popped into the library, I realized that the sight of me in a large, picture-book-character-affixed apron was not exactly fashion forward. Apron-wearing would not, therefore, lend itself very well towards behavior control if I was asking the youngsters to don such attire. At any rate, the day passed in a flurry of bookish fun. And I didn’t feel bad about how much fun it was, either, since I feel rather strongly about the educational value of story-telling, insomuch as it promotes a mindset lifelong learners when young ones learn to appreciate story early on.
But underlying the fun was the weightiness of my own sadness at the thought of leaving. Why?, I find myself wondering. Leaving has always been easy for me–what is making this transition so difficult? Am I just getting old. and losing my sense of adventure? I still have a good bit of processing needed, I think, before I come to any sort of understanding about my current emotional state.
Those emotions bookended the business of the day. A beauty-soaked sunrise moment. An afternoon walk home in which I paused at the sight of the sun rays streaming through the grapevine leaves, with the striking border of a barbed-wire-topped compound wall.

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