My Gentle Class

Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
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Trip End ??? ??, 2007


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Flag of Honduras  ,
Friday, December 15, 2006

 

The End of the Second Bimester
It's funny really.  I don't know why they call it a bimester.  In the San Jeronimo Bilingual School system there are actually five "mesters."  But we call them bimesters...

We have just ended our second bimester - Friday, December 15. And I would like to tell you about a few of my students.  First I will tell you a little about Alex.

Alex
Alex is eleven years old, is one of the tallest boys in my class, and was described by BECA's program director as a "gentle giant." Alex is probably also the most mature of the four boys in my class and recieves the highest grades of the boys, and second best overall behind his cousin, Josselyn.

Soon after school had begun, Alex wrote a short narrative that I will share with you. We were reviewing words for vocabulary and somehow the word "toupee" came up. I had discussed with them what a toupee was and how it was different from a wig. Later that day, Alex told me that he had a story for me to read, that he had written.
 
The Gentle Giant
I would also like to describe a bit of what "gentle giant" might mean. Alex is an awkward boy. He is not very graceful on the athletic field. He is a little heavy for his size and looks a little odd when he runs. This does not in any way inhibit his participation. And all the other kids love Alex. I love Alex. He's a lovable kid. We had a group of young adults visit us from the states, back in late October, that helped out in some of our classes, painted some of the wall that surrounds the school and painted much of the exterior of the school buildings themselves. My students and I were very fortunate to have a young lady spend time with us, Liesl, who listened intently to the kids read, helped them with their grammar, and participated very well with the class. When Leap Now (as the group is called),  after saying goodbye to all the kids on a Friday at noon, had finally left, many of the kids in most of the grades were crying. My class was no exception, and I knew they missed Ms. Liesl.
 
When I entered my classroom, after lunch, I found that most of them were crying, Alex included. I did not want to assume too much, and so I walked over to Alex's desk and asked him why he was crying. With red and blurry eyes he motioned over at one of his classmates and said, "Cecilia is crying because she is thinking about her mother." I need to tell you at this point that Cecilia's mother was murdered in her home about six or seven years ago, while Cecilia was in the house. I don't know any other details, but it was obvious at that point, that she was grieving the loss of her mother.
 
I don't want to go into a lot of detail, except to mention that this is what type of boy Alex is. There may have been more to his own tears than what he shared, but what was foremost on his mind was that a classmate was grieving her mother. He does seem to be a gentle giant.

A Gentle Class
Alex is not the only caring student in the class. All them look after each other, fight with each other, forgive each other, and remain friends with each other. I sometimes am aware of my own fear of when that innocent, perhaps easier sixth grade way of dealing with life might start to crumble. In the midst of attempting to help these kids deal in a healthy and open manner with their emotions they told me that the older kids (the 7th, 8th, and 9th graders) had told them that it was "stupid" to cry. We talked about what we thought was the best way to handle such emotions and how to best support each other. It was an afternoon I never want to forget.
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Comments

alanarchindy
alanarchindy on

Yet another reason I'm not getting a toupee
Jon,
Loved Alex's story and yours. It makes me think of the idea that when you are stressed, creativity is taking nothing and turning it into something. Humor is taking something and turning it into nothing. Somehow both were at work here.

This serves as perfect pretext for giving you what you really want - lame jokes. So here's a couple.

How do you fire a math teacher? -- tell him he's history.
Why did the teacher wear sunglasses? -- because the students were so bright.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Juan
Juan who?
Juan plus Juan equals two.

Wishing you Christmas blessings,
Alan

jbtheflea79
jbtheflea79 on

Re: Yet another reason I'm not getting a toupee
Alan,

I love your jokes, as always, and cannot wait to put them on the board when I get back. I think it will be a wonderful method for helping my students get beyond just rote learning of vocabulary.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Jon

rondawords
rondawords on

Holiday Cheer
Dear Jon,
Your account of the classroom emotions has stayed with me through this season. I'm so happy you are out in the field doing the real work of peace, one person at a time... being genuine is the only way to get results. This organization is fortunate to have someone with your depth and sensitivity. I'm thrilled for you and your kids, and glad to hear you are exceeding survival status!
Thinking of you often.
Love, Ronda

Alena on

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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