Once upon a time a fellow fourth grade teacher was approached by a new, VERY limited English student.
He said, "Give me rubbers!" His teacher's eyes bugged out, and she hollered for an Amharic-speaking classmate. "WHAT does he want?!?!," always fearing the worst of 4th grade boys. Translation from Amharic to English. "Um, he needs an eraser."
British English. Gets ya every time.
p.s. Brownie points if you knew Amharic was the official language of Ethiopia. Bonus brownie points if you can name the country (and/or language) directly to the north that gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1991. WITHOUT using Wikipedia or Google! (I have several students from this country too.)
Monday, September 3, 2012
Tomorrow is the first day of school. As a teacher I interact with dozens of children each school year. We just got word that my elementary school has hit the 800-mark for enrollment. That is a LOT of students. I attended two elementary schools which had 175 and 200 students each, so my current school population baffles me sometimes. Students can have one of eight kindergarten teachers and then end up knowing only a handful of students in their first grade class after they've been shuffled around.
On Friday, students and their parents came to school for a few hours to meet their new teachers and see their classrooms. After a quiet week at school, I loved hearing the walls echo with the sounds of high pitched voices. My favorite part of the morning though, was being able to greet the students by name.
My first year of teaching I stood in the lobby of the school, armed with class lists and eager to assist anyone who needed it. I didn't know anyone, much less the names and rooms of the classroom teachers. I was fairly useless short of a welcoming smile.
This year I knew many of the students and parents who walked through the door. I unfortunately forgot a handful of names I should have known, but it filled me with joy to greet most of them by name. I could ask about their summers, their new baby brother, if they were ready for 1st, 2nd, or 5th grade. And I received many, many hugs.
I am filled with hope and anticipation for the school year ahead. For the relationships to be formed and the opportunity to get to know these students. Teachers often spend more time with students than their parents are able to. That is a humbling thought and a huge responsibility-- I have the ability to help mold these young lives.
Whether you are in a classroom, a cubicle, or at the grocery store, do you take the time to value the people you interact with and the influence you can share?