Snowing Again

There is always one bus that comes late to the school at the end of the day, in the beginning of the year and then again each time the weather is lousy.  Today was no exception.  The lobby piled high with kids waiting to go to the south side of town.  Parent’s coming to pick up children who were supposed to stay after school blocked the bus lane selfishly holding everyone else up so they didn’t have to park properly.  People are inconsiderate, but I am never really sure why.  Is it really that much harder to park 5 feet further over?

I spend my hall duty putting sneakers into backpacks, and zipping stubborn zippers and bundling up stubborn children.  I know it is common in the media to presume that teachers don’t give a damn but really we do.  At least I do.  Sometimes I see people complaining about how kids are coddled and should walk to school no matter what the weather, but these kids don’t have coats (some of them) much less boots and hats and mittens. In some cases it is inexcusable, but in most it is pure poverty.  Our refugees too don’t even realize what they are getting into.  I note who doesn’t have a coat, hats or mittens and seek out someone who can help.  We take donations of gently used coats, and sweaters and sweatshirts, and volunteers bring us hand knit hats and mittens.  Some of the refugee children don’t even have socks or a spare outfit.

People complain about how their grandparents managed to get off the boat and pull ahead despite the language barrier, one thing that differs for refugees in most of them do not speak Latin based languages and so when they come in not a single sound is familiar.  Not only that but many have had NOTHING for many years, and have seen atrocities that our grandparents could not imagine.  It is one thing to be hungry and living in abject poverty, it is another thing entirely to see your village destroyed and to watch people being raped and murdered before your eyes.  They come to us scared and traumatized.  It seems entirely different from just being off the boat.

I go outside in the slick light snow.  About three inches is on my car.  I brush it off while the car runs and am amazed to see a large flock of geese flying overhead.  I would expect them to be gone by now, especially since the snow has been on the ground now for at least a full week. A grandmother (older women who come in for minimal pay to help with the kindergarteners) limps out to her car.  I see her and brush off her car for her.  She is grateful.  She trucks along and clearly means to remain independent but it is slippery and she does use a cane.

On my way home, which is a slow trek on the slick highway, I pass a flock of crows eating grit or rock salt off the street.  I marvel at them.  I love birds so much.

Home safe and my daughter and her friend have made Christmas cookies all day.  The house is cold but I make the girls giggle with my silliness.  They want to visit one of their friends on the far side of town.  I beg off, it is snowing too hard and the roads are too slick.  They are disappointed but this is one of the flexible aspects of living in such a snowy city, sometimes our plans are canceled by winter weather.

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3 comments on “Snowing Again

  1. I am an ESL teacher and am constantly buying gently-used or new clothing for my students. I know how much the families struggle living in oftentimes squalid conditions or living with multiple famiies. Many of my students sleep on the floor–and never complain! No, we don’t coddle them–we just care about them!

  2. Hi Petalpusher welcome! Thank you for commenting on my blog. I care so much about these kids, and the ESL or ELL (for some this is not their second language but their third or more) as we are now calling them are truly some of the most wonderful students I have. I get so upset when people outside the education system judge those of us in it negatively. To see a Mom come in the snow wearing nothing but flip flops and the children in lightweight fall jackets in below 0 temperatures. There is nothing coddled about them.

    And yes we do care.

  3. It just breaks my heart to hear about these children, when the kids today….the kids in our country….have so much and appreciate it so little. I wish I could do more. I’m going to think of something more I can do for next winter…..maybe squirrel away money to buy second hand shirts, sox etc. Meg, you can give me ideas, I can plan to save some from my s.s. check each month and maybe we can shop for things when I come home. Poor babies……..

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