Chika is a 6’8″ 16 year old from Nigeria who just arrived at our school–three weeks into the year– to play basketball. His first language is Igbo. His second language is English. He is in my French I class. Culture shock doesn’t begin to describe his first week here. Even though he is staying with a Nigerian family from his region with teenage children who attend our school who are all bi-lingual English and Igbo, the pace of life here and the flood of English rushing at him is overwhelming.
He arrived in the U.S. on Saturday and began school on Monday. Tuesday, the administrator/basketball coach saw him walking through the empty hallways on his way to class and realized that he had never explained to Chika about the bells. Chika had no idea why the halls were suddenly empty. He had no idea that it was he for whom the bells tolled. Wednesday, he asked to be excused to go to the bathroom. I gave him the pass. He was gone most of the period. My initial sarcastic thought was to wonder if he fell in. My kinder thought was that his body was probably still adjusting to being here. But finally I thought that maybe…just maybe…he needed to escape to the bathroom just to escape the madness.
Today was one of those days when even I, the teacher, could not keep up with the madness. Two classes had not done their online journals because I had not posted the assignment. The thing is, I remember creating the assignment. Did I just forget to click some key? Like “post”? The best (or worst) was period 5 . I had a really great lesson with the class. They were 100% with me. They were engaged. They were wowed by the Smartboard activity I had prepared. (They actually said, “Wow!”) I got all the way to the end of the lesson and realized that I had just taught to the French 3 class my lesson for French 2. After I groaned a dramatic “ARGHHH!” while throwing my body across a table, the students said, “No wonder I knew what was going on.”
I wish I could say that I’ll just set the reset button on Monday, but I still have to get through Friday! It looks like a night for bubble bath therapy.