(Be forewarned, this is a rambling blog this week.)
Living in Egypt is an interesting experience. Rarely do we see homeless in Alexandria like we do in San Francisco, and the large amount of homeless in downtown Santa Rosa, but there are disturbing amounts of trash in the streets and malnourished donkeys and horses pulling extremely heavy carts through the traffic. Yet, there this sense of inclusion regarding humans that is very obvious with the Egyptians we encounter, and as they often include us in various ways of friendliness. There is a different feel for us throughout our days. At times I do get homesick and feel homeless here. Perhaps the way of American Public schools is so ingrained I have a difficult time with the lack of thorough communication and being in-the-know in certain areas. A feeling of equity. The feeling of inclusion.
The students are like any loving children who sense the teacher really cares and wants to work with them in their learning journeys. My colleague in first grade has been very inclusive, and like me she is a good old-fashioned Midwesterner at heart. (Well I am only at heart as I truly feel a Californian all the way since my family moved to Berkeley, CA when I was in third grade.) We have had a wonderful time collaborating. Most of the children can write to 100 and know facts to 5, yet in reading I see the American effect of reading without comprehension. A number of the children entered 1st grade with having read a lot of books but they do not truly comprehend what they have read. It is the “read the words, fluently” thought yet with no understanding of the words, their meanings, context clues, and answering questions beyond basic recall. This coming week of reading will find the four reading groups in my class concentrating more on partner reading and asking each other questions. They will be encouraged to ask their parents questions about the stories in their readers. Inclusion for the students to the point of involving the parents more in partnership of their child’s learning, and inclusion for the students in learning to work with students within their classroom community. Getting along and caring about the other person, human, homo sapiens!
We had a time change this week and moved our clocks back an hour last night. Did I sleep an extra hour? No, I was thinking about my classroom as that has become my every day focus. The American education I can bring to these children is crucial. Giving them the same I would give the students at home is paramount. I want them to understand humanity at its finest, caring and sharing, reading and questioning, communicating with each other, collaborating, no one student being the know-it-all, the one who has to make sure the other students know they did something or have single ownership. To be inclusive with the WE concept.
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Please think about inclusion and how it pertains to you, your family, and your workplace.
I long for inclusion, partnering in change and decisions, having one of the voices, may I provide this in my classroom.
Living the Crazy Life,