Yesterday I had to leave the class and go back to bed. I’ve got a cold or sinus infection – something that feels a lot like flu. I can barely stand up and can’t talk above a whisper. Thank God for Beth and Sosi. They got the bingo set out and packed up new notebooks and pens for prizes and spent the afternoon session turning our classroom into a church basement with Sosi calling out the numbers and Beth showing the girls how to cover the numbers on their card and shout BINGO at the appropriate time. They all loved it. That was a hard act to follow this morning when I returned.
Every day, we read one of the books I brought, bought with money generously donated by my friends at my going-away party; I have enough to leave one book with each girl at each site where I teach. I read a page then have a student read the same page again to the class. They’re very good at reading and can sound out words I thought they wouldn’t know. Of course, English isn’t always spelled the way it sounds so that creates confusion. Sosi wanted to read the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but halfway through I could see they didn’t know who he was. Explaining racism and segregation in America was more difficult and painful than I thought. I dreaded reading the end about his assassination. We switched to Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish and that was a wonderful success. It’s easier to teach laughter than sorrow.