August 21, 2001 A Monday to Remember
Some days are harder than others. Monday was one of the harder ones.
It started off on Saturday night when I got a call from a fellow teacher. She brought some of the hardest news any teacher could deliver… “Pam passed away suddenly.” Pam was our principal.
As a teacher, I wear many hats. Sometimes I’m a mother figure. At other times, I’m a counselor, judge, motivator, or just another member of the classroom community. My job as “instructor” lies between and within some of my other roles. But with all the responsibilities that come with being a teacher, I never thought I’d have to talk to my students about losing a principal to death.
It’s not the same as talking to a child about losing a family member or friend. It’s not even the same as talking to my students about losing a teacher on campus. A school principal is somehow a more sacred person that we’re not supposed to lose.
On Sunday night, I thought about how I would address the issue on Monday. I ended up talking to my students first thing on Monday morning. Every morning, we form a “community circle” where we sing songs, give announcements, talk about the day’s schedule, and share experiences. It was a good setting for sharing my tragic news.
Before I even opened my mouth, the students knew that something was wrong. If there’s one thing I’m proud of is the maturity of my fifth graders. Although they are only ten years old, they are mature, young adults, and took the news rather well. We talked for a while, and I was amazed at the level of trust, respect, and honestly they displayed. The day was a little weird, since we were all thinking about our own mortalities, the loss of our principal, and the other losses we experienced in our lives.
Yes, it was a hard day, and a difficult way to start the week, but I also learned so much from my students, and we developed our classroom community more than we could have ever imagined.
|Susan Sensei’s English Lesson #87（スーザン先生の英語講座）
For two years I taught English in Japan, and was “スーザン先生” to my students in Ikaho town, Gunma Prefecture. I will try and introduce new words and phrases for the Japanese visitor to Hawaii. Here is this week’s situation:
“Excuse me, is there cheese in the house salad? Would you be able to make one for me without cheese?”
|Loco Girl’s Profile（ロコ・ガールのプロフィール） Born in Hilo, I grew up going fishing with Dad, shopping with Mom, and trying to be a good “big sister” to a younger sister and brother. A Waiakea High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa alumni, I taught English in Japan for two years on the JET Program. I love doing a lot of things-shopping, reading, lettering, making jewelry & crafts, watching Friends-and that’s just the start of my list! I like being busy, and am active with the JET Alumni Association (JETAA) and the Honolulu Junior Japanese Chamber of Commerce (HJJCC.) My family and friends are, of course, very important to me, and are why I live a very typical, happy, local-style life in Hawaii and will never leave!|