Monday, July 04, 2016

Learning environs

Billy Collins' poetry books are stacked up (yes, this sounds so pretentious! but, if you really know his writing, you know he is one of the least pretentious modern poets out there). Thank you, God, for this introduction which was me just nosing around internet poetry one day.

The Music Man Pandora is on.

My little wonderful student KB has two of her school pictures peeking out from a clay pretty pot I use as a pen holder.

Other students "Welcome!" pictures are on my wall. All but three of eight are gone from my lovely tutoring office which I don't focus on much with the start of a nonprofit.

I am cleaning and finding sweet notes: "Thank you for being my teacher. I love you!" "Thank you for basically starting the writing club and keeping it going!" I must say that the gifts and trinkets from teaching are far and few in between, but I keep each note or doodad given. If truth be known, my love language is in things. I rarely receive them (except for husband at Christmas or birthday) and so each one is so special to me. I tear up now just thinking about sentimental gift things.

When my father died, I was the only one in my family who did not receive flowers or some tangible thing-thought or a friend who showed up from my 3.5 hours away town. That was hard. I know I have friends, many, however, it was Thanksgiving weekend and rainy and difficult.

When I returned, I was sad and sulky at so much. I sat in my office one day, still grieved in multiple ways, and a man appeared with beautiful flowers in his hands for me. I had spoken at his service agency group, and a semi-drunken man had said a few strange things out loud to those around him (not concerning me). The man had felt so badly about the rudeness that he decided to gift me with flowers.  Of course, I knew I was gifted from Grace with Flowers and my immature sulking was noticed (thanks God again).

Back to my office. Here I've laughed with students. On Mondays, I teach my minimally verbal guy with autism some mandolin. He tells me each time what he had to eat during the weekend. I love entering into his dignity, his into mine. Sometimes he's frustrated but his motor skills have improved wonderfully. Also, I meet a teenage boy late Monday afternoons, feed him snacks, and we read Animal Farm. He's not a reader, but he likes politics, and his discussion can move from his familiar concrete to the abstract. (I hope he learns to write like Orwell.)We enjoy our discussions of this book, and I can really grimace and "omg" out loud as it connects too closely to our current politics! I think we have fun; I know that, even though he would rather be on the couch playing video games, relaxing, doing what he wants to do, that we enjoy ourselves in the relationship of learner to learner, and teacher to learner.

There are other students including my bright KB who has an amazing inner joy. She was adopted from a far away island; it's like the sun has never been extinguished. She has been with me for about three years, and I've seen her grow in girl beauty and talent (a smidgen in math too!). I do wish her mother wouldn't worry about her so much, but her worries bring her here and to other people who can pour individually into her. All mothers should be the same!

Time to hand clean another spot on the wood (aka linoleum) floor.

It makes me happy to remember students.

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