Friday, 9 September 2011

Because we all know each other, right?

It is the end of the first week at school. I always find that first week back is so hard. You can't eat or go for a wee when you want. By 10:15 break time I am peeing like Seabiscuit and feel like I haven't eaten in months. It does get better once my body adjusts to the more regimented schedule. Summers are a bit *la la la, have a lie in and a snack and lie about on the sofa reading a favourite book* sort of time. School is doing 12 things at once with little people crying or lost or confused or being rowdy or angry and you find yourself saying things like "Sweetie what's wrong, the office is that way, just write down some ways to describe fruit like soft, sweet, juicy or crunchy, sit down in your seat now, whoa! grabbing someone's nipples is unacceptable!" This is an *actual* transcript of the first 15 minutes of my day today. No really. I am with year 3 for the first hour and it is a bit overwelming (not sure if I mean for them or me) There are lots of big feelings when you are seven years old so while I'm hugging crying girl I'm directing traffic with my other arm to get rowdy boy to sit down, confused boy to do some work,  and titty twisting girl to come here for a stern talking to. I'm also gesturing with my head towards the office for lost child who needs to deliver a note.  Most people, including Spiderman, would run away screaming. I like it. I just find it really hectic.

The second part of the morning I go from class to class to help support children with language needs who don't speak English at home. Most of our children can function in English but just need that odd bit of support in their writing. So today I spent 45 minutes with three year 5 children going over stories they had read in class, making sure they understood the plot and vocabulary and helped them plan an alternate ending because Monday they will need to write their own ending to the familiar story. That was fun.

This year we have two straight- from -another- country- don't- speak- a- lick- of -English- kids--one from Russia and one from the Ivory Coast. This is a great challenge for all my drama abilities as I have to act out most things with sound effects. The girl from the Ivory Coast is 10 years old and in year 6 and can read in French so we often plug in a translation of things--the writing assignment/today's hot school meal choices--into Babelfish so she can understand and enough of us speak some French that we get by. She is very shy about speaking English in front of others so we'll have some sessions where we just practice talking.  However, the little Russian chap is 7 years old and this is his first time at school. He is cheeky and funny and smily and willing to try anything. We've been looking at pictures of fruits and veg on google image and writing adjectives like sweet, juicy, crunchy, sour. All of these have had to be mimed by me with sound effects. I'm taking him down to the shops next week so we can look at a variety of food and we can buy some and he can come back and tell the class about it. "This is a juicy pineapple." "This is a crunchy carrot." etc etc

I enjoy the challenges of my job and I am kept running constantly until lunch when I get to go home. I am thankful we can afford to have me only work half days because it is really tiring being with wee'uns if you give your heart and soul to helping them. And the other fun thing is all our classes are named after countries so I started off in Wales, then went to New Zealand and then had a few minutes in France right before lunch!

Which leads me to the title of this entry. This morning a child in Wales asked me this question(while all the previous events described were happening I might add.)

child:  Do you know my auntie? 
me: I don't know. Who is your auntie?
child: names someone I have never heard of
me (thinking auntie is former student--we get lots of aunties and uncles who are more like cousins) How old is your auntie?
child: 36
me: why would you think I would know your auntie?
child: because she lives in New York.

Ahhh. New York is in America and I am from there and therefore I might know her. I promised to get an atlas on Monday and show her where New York and Louisiana are. So I'll just add that to the list of things to do while sorting out all the problems of the world.


  1. Hi Heather,
    You may not remember me, Carol Durusau, from the church in Alexandria back a long time ago when you were in college. My daughter, Elizabeth, is all grown up now and studying to be a librarian and I turned out to be a librarian also. Your mom posted the link to your blog and it is nice to see what you have been up to. I'm sure you are a very good teacher. Are you on facebook also, or do you just blog? I have a blog about eating locally and seasonally; it is called "Post-Industrial Eating."

  2. Oh chickadee, this is a fabulously described entry!

  3. Hi Heather, this is so cool! I followed a link that your mom posted on FB too, and voila! Here you are! I don't know if you remember me, either. But you and your mother were the catalysts to a life long love of acting for me. Your mom got me started on individual events at Brame and you coached me. I did humor with and Eliza Doolittle piece and poetry/prose with The Little Prince and The Raven. Remember me at all?

    Anyway, I followed acting all thoruhg high school, some in college, and even moved out to LA for a bit to "pursue" acting there! Of course, that's another life now, but both of you really altered my life for the better as acting got me through some really tough spots as a teen. Now, it is a constant foundation as I stand in front of 120 college students teaching sociology.

    I have thought about you and your mom countless times over the years and love being able to see where you ended up!

    Best, Andrea Laurent

  4. Great post today Heather! Love hearing about your day at work!