Wednesday, October 07, 2009

class

I've been volunteering in M's school this week, an informal sort of thing. As you might imagine school here is mighty different, the rooms are crowded and supplies are nil. The teachers have a lot of kids and few resources to get the job done. I noticed her struggle and offered to come and help. She said OK and told me when to show up but I've yet to see her smile.

So I show up and the room is in a subdued chaos, the teachers here have no problem yelling at the kids, something I'd imagine I'd do too if stuck with this job. She handed me a stack of composition books and asked me to write the homework assignment in each. I dutifully sat at her desk and wrote and wrote while she taught the kids about 1,2 and 3. I watched M on and off and she was in heaven, somehow sitting in this crappy little room with an oh-so-strict teacher and the afternoon heat didn't seem to bother her or maybe she just doesn't know any better. Either way given the circumstances I count these blessings because this is what we've got to work with here.

I came home a bit depressed if she was in the US she'd probably be taking yoga or some shit and you know they'd have A/C and J just looks at me and says it's the sum not the parts that we need to focus on and yet I can't quite find the charm because I can't help but worry about what is best for her and we talk and we realize that while living here school is different and perhaps substandard but she is happy and safe and still learning even if there is a hole in the classroom floor.

So I went back again today, determined to not only volunteer but observe again and I have to admit it was better, the teacher had my work ready for me when I arrived and she was able to finish her lessons without worrying about the paperwork and I got to sit at the front and assign the homework and tease the kids when they came to collect their books. After closing prayer (hi hello there is a lot of jesus going on around here) she looked at me across the room Manana? I say and she nods and even smiles and M and I walk out hand in hand and happy, she's thrilled I show up and I'm thrilled I'm afforded the luxury of coming mid-day to my kid's class and hang out.

I decide I'll come whenever I can, tomorrow and the next and when I'm not running back and forth to the States because that's what this new gig affords me, long stretches at home and some time away, my id and superego and ego might just unite after all.

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11 comments:

flutter said...

she'd probably be taking yoga or some

that? made me howl!

wheelsonthebus said...

sounds like she's doing just fine

Pgoodness said...

I am so loving reading about this life you're living.

hgg said...

What a great idea!

de said...

I don't think at this age you need to worry about "substandard." IMO, the most important thing is the teacher and the parents, so M's got it made.

Z said...

I've been a voluntary helper in schools for 20 years, it's one of the most grounding things I've ever done and I love it, and don't mind at all when I get a dull job. And you're being more solidly helpful for an overstretched teacher than I ever have been - good for you, for lightening her load and enabling her to do her job better and being happier about it.

Honesty said...

You're an intruder in the class room, even though the teacher may smile to you (does she have any choice?)

mamatulip said...

I love you, and M, and reading about you guys. She is learning. She's learning so, so much.

painted maypole said...

being in the classroom will be a gift to M, that teacher, and you.

BENALI said...

Hi, I found your blog in a directory..Love your whole lifestyle.The "class" post sounds much like what happens here on the Navajo REZ, overstressed teachers, no resources..in other words the rez is our own little haven of the jungle..

Kyla said...

Good for you, jen. They need you there. You could always start an after school yoga program. ;)