Their handwritings are as accented as their voices — these students with thoughts in other languages passing behind their dark eyes. In the tail of a “y” I trace the flowing right-to-left of Arabic script, while the extra lines of Chinese characters sometimes clutter the spaces around ordinary English words.
They ask me to speak slowly, and I watch them concentrating, understanding, trusting me to give them the help they need.
I find accents in the American handwriting, too — and personalities: large and messy from a student who sits in the front of the class and answers nearly every question with a confident smile; small and stiff from the student who came here from the military.
When I write responses to their homework, I find my writing changes based on the tone I might use for each one: sometimes it is careful printing, other times I let cursive script tilt across the page.
I “put on” teacher in the classroom for them: an expanded personality who isn’t afraid of meeting strangers and confronting problems and who falls away when I unload my teaching bag from the car at home, slip out of cramped shoes, sit down with their homework pages.
Sometimes it seems like a useless exhaustion, but a whisper reminds me of their responsive faces, the way they seem glad to step into the classroom. This teacher-project, after all, is about loving people: thoroughly worth the effort. Joining Kate Motaung and friends for the Five Minute Friday party, writing on her word, “whisper.” (Sort of, sort of just writing the thing that’s on my mind and working “whisper” into it as best I can.) Read more and join in using the button above! ©2014 by Stacy Nott