Today was the end of a full week—a week of teaching and learning for all of us. The word “bittersweet” came up a few times this morning at breakfast for Meghan and me on our last day of teaching. Last walk by the blue morning glories, the black dog, and the fig trees on the way to school. Fortunately, Jennifer is more than capable of carrying the torch through the next week until the next group of volunteers take over. I don’t know that I can digest this week in just an hour or two when it will likely take weeks or months to fully appreciate, but here it goes:
Today was both similar and different from the other days. At school there was some game playing, some fighting, some laughing, some kickball, some stealing stickers, some enthusiastic hand-raising, some learning breakthroughs, some attitudes, and some new connections made.
We played some American pop songs for the older kids to listen to and write down all of the English words they could hear, which they seemed to enjoy. The younger kids got their chance at the fly swatter game to learn different professions, with much success and enjoyment.
Figuring out just how much the kids learned this week seems an impossible task right now, but maybe that’s missing the point. What we do know is that we certainly learned a lot—about the kind people of this community: so welcoming and quick with a smile; about our Greek students: that, just like kids everywhere, they are incredibly curious, funny, sweet, antsy on Fridays, and full of life; and about ourselves: that great things can happen when we get out of our comfort zones and reach out to others, especially with great teammates and a team leader to laugh and learn with along the way.
Somehow, in this place, where the coffee guy doesn’t drink coffee, the pool guy doesn’t swim (both our sweet Paul), and the teachers don’t speak the kids’ language, we were part of something that works. Part of a week full of little successes. For us, and for our students.
Thought for the day: “A smile is the same in any language.” ~George Carlin