from refugee camp to my classroom

We have a new student, a tiny girl.  I’m in love with her already.  I’ll call her “Starling” for the purposes of this blog.

Starling was born in a refugee camp, and came to the States just last year, when she was three.  She had never been in school before, but showed great adaptability and poise on her first day.  She was so confident that she actually just followed a bunch of kids off the bus and up to the third floor, where the big kids (5th-8th) are.  One of them, a kind 5th grade girl, found her, looked at her bus tag, held her hand, and brought her down to me.  Starling seemed not in the least disturbed.

I showed her where her cubby would be, and from that moment on she knew exactly where to put her jacket and backpack.  She doesn’t have a journal yet (I’ll buy her one today), so I gave her paper and crayons, and had my assistant teacher sit with her.  Starling looked grave, and would not draw.  She sat, and she watched.

At morning meeting I reviewed the letters and sounds we know, and to my surprise, she called out the names of most of them.  (Her father told me later that her brother has been teaching her.)  I just love the big brothers and sisters in so many immigrant families; they get the little ones ready for my class, and it’s wonderful.  Some families believe education and doing well in school are important.

When her father stopped by to see how his baby was doing, I asked him to explain to her that the signal for “I need to go to the bathroom” in my class is just the thumbs-up sign.  He asked her if she understood, and she gave him a thumbs up, and went back to what she was doing.

I can’t wait to see what she learns this week.


2 thoughts on “from refugee camp to my classroom

  1. It is amazing how resilient a child can be or how adaptable they can become in a safe environment. Just when you think she might not be interested or not listening or even understanding, she amazes you with how much she has observed and learned. She sounds like an amazing child i wish her and her family well, all the best to your Starling may she keep exploring and discovering many wonderful things in her great learning environment.

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