It is fun for me to see the students, now in grades 7 and 8. I first taught them when they were in Kindergarten, and then I got to again in grade 5.
After a year and a half of the pandemic, I am starting to lose track of them. They have grown in stature and maturity and for the guys, depth of voice and facial hair. Now with our busy and conflicting schedules in different departments at school, I don’t see them often.
Today I did, though. They were at recess. They always play the guessing game with me.
“Do you remember me?”
“Of course, how could I forget you, Nawar.”
“Who am I?” one asks with her mask covering most of her face.
“Hmmm, give me a sec. I need to figure out by your eyes. Oh, yes, Noor.”
“How about me? Do you remember me?”
“Yes,” I say, tentatively, racking my brain, trying to figure out how she has changed and then to remember her name.
What is my goal and focus for 2022? I am in the process of considering what the right word is for my one little word for next year.
It is becoming clearer, but I need a word for it. If there is one.
These past weeks I’ve been sorting through accumulated possessions–too many that we have gathered over eight years. I’m giving things away daily, whenever someone is nearby I hand them an empty bag to fill. We came to this country with nine suitcases, and we are going home with eight. Most of our possessions won’t be traveling to California with us.
So, this process has reminded me that it would have been better to have not accumulated in the first place. I want to be careful, mindful, wise in my next chapter when I will be setting up another home.
I work hard to do this with food in my kitchen. For instance, when I went to some friends house for breakfast the other day, I ended up with dried pita bread leftovers. I cut them into triangles, baked them and served them yesterday to guests with homemade hummus. It saves money and the planet to eat without wasting and without buying processed foods. I want to continue to get even better. (Have you seen Carleigh Bodrug do this @plantyou?)
Another example…I had saved a new canvas for my 2022 word painting. However, what if, instead of opening another plastic-wrapped package, I use Nawaf’s Dot Day painting from years ago as my canvas? I can write my one word onto the red dot, perhaps? Is it disrespectful of the original artist? Or is it a legit art form?
Anyway, any ideas for a suitable word for 2022 for me?
You knew a few letters last year; the only one you said with loud confidence was the initial letter of your first name. I wondered what had prevented you from learning your English sounds and letters during your first two and a half years of school. How clever and smart you were, noticing patterns in the words on the test, and sharing your interest in life and all the little happenings around you. However, you weren’t able to do the activities I asked you to read and respond to. You were distracted and took a bathroom break during the screening.
Today I saw you again, and you have made such prodigious progress. You know your letters now, spouted the sounds in the phonemic awareness screening, read nonsense words, and even a few sight words. I told you how proud I was of the progress you have made in the last few months. “I learned, didn’t I?” you said.
marvel of learning
your hard work is paying off
yes, indeed, you did
We now have nine weeks before we leave Bahrain, and I’m realizing how very fast the days fly by. By day, DIBELS screening at school and cleaning out cupboards and closets are two tasks that are keeping me busy. I’m so thankful I am not teaching this year, so I have time to do what needs to be done to make this a good move. I remember one move we made when my children were in middle school, I was teaching full time, and we moved to another state the week after school was out. Fortunately, we had professional movers, but when we got to our new home and I had to look through and sort the boxes that should have been done before. There was one junk drawer that had just been poured into a box and shipped across country, complete with the sticky gum sticks, broken rubber bands, random staples and paper clips, bits of Blue Tack. Yuck!
This time of course it’s a different kind of move. There are no professional movers with semi-trucks picking up the houseful of furniture and belongings for four people. We hope to get our eight years worth of Bahrain belongings into eight suitcases; that means we have a lot to give away. I’m trying to sort things to make them handy to look through. Now, I’m starting to invite people over to go through and pick things they would like to have.
Thankfully as we close this chapter, Covid numbers are low and the country is open for gathering. A few times a week, we have fun in the evenings and weekends being with people. I’m starting to feel like the goodbye is really coming, and it’s not going to be easy.
Instead of a 100-word story, I wrote a prayer. It breaks my heart each day to see such effort to get school back to “normal”, when some parts of normal weren’t all that great.
A Prayer for School Change
How can things change
so much? We were just fine,
and then we weren’t. Splat,
like a moth that hit
a fast car, school stopped. Now,
we try to pick up
the cracked and rent
and put them back
as they were.
can we just stop
and find a new way?
A fine way to be
in this world.
Lord, help us give voice
to kids who do not yet
have one. Help us make
rules that just give
life. May the kids be free
to catch a glimpse of
who they can be.
So be it.
Today while observing a computer class, I learned about a new review game called Blooket.com. As the children started logging in to Blooket for the review of the lesson, I began to help some of the children get to the page and join the game the teacher had prepared.
One little girl got an error message when she tried to write her Nickname, which our teachers always encourage the students to write their real names. She got the message “That name doesn’t seem to be appropriate.”
Someone said, “Oh, you didn’t use a capital letter.” I wish. We tried again with a capital. That wasn’t it. Then, so she could play, we just used her first initial and second name.
I found my cheeks getting red with embarrassment and anger that she had to get that message saying her NAME wasn’t appropriate. It was a name unnecessarily censored. It stayed with me, and I got more indignant.
When I got home, I signed up for Blooket so I could send a message to the contact email asking them to do something about it, so she wouldn’t have to get that message again.
Within thirty minutes I received this humble and helpful response:
We are super sorry about this! We will add that name so it is not flagged. We aim for users of every age group to be able to play! Unfortunately sometimes the computer picks up the wrong thing to censor.
Apologies for the inconvenience,
I am thankful that I spoke up. As of now, though, her name remains inappropriate, according to Blooket. I will check again until it’s fixed.
Today I finished another step of my yo-yo quilt. I was inspired to get started on this quilt in August and wrote about my progress here.
Since then I’ve worked on it off-and-on, and I learned so much. I’m not totally satisfied, but I decided to finish anyway. It was my first attempt doing artwork with yo-yos. Each piece has been basted onto the background. Now I just need to more permanently sew down each of the more than 600 yo-yos. (I wonder how long that will take!)
My inspiration is the Bahrain World Trade Center. Click the link or photo below to read an article about the process of the building of this landmark in 2008.