Mississippi Moments

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Roll Mississippi, Roll Mississippi, Roll Mississippi,
wherever do you roll...
Everyday, I try to begin my blog with one of the songs the children are learning as part of our river studies. It is amazing to hear them singing all day, just about. Someday I will learn to record them and you can listen while you read this. The tradition and practice of singing and singing loud and well down here is as strong as the tradition of getting espresso in Seattle. Or sitting in traffic.
So today's blog will begin with my observations of the children. It always takes me a few days to adjust from the learners in Magnolia to the learners in MS. By the end of the year in Magnolia, the darlings are toast. Ready for summer. Done. Poke me with a stick. Tuned out. Funny. Here in Jonestown, they have been out of school for a month almost and they are still eager to learn. But they are whiny in a southern kind of way until you figure out what they really want. Which brings me to my first point--I have been immersed enough in this foreign language and land and today I only required ONE translation from a native! Yay, me! The children were working to label, texturize, and paint their 3-D map diagrams of the MS river, delta, levees, floodplains, etc. It was extrememly obvious that they are not given many opportunities for creative arts because there were constant questions-"Iz dis how you wohn-it, Mih Ern?" Like dis? How 'bout like dis Miz Ern? And I just kept explaining that no, this was their creative work and time for them to make their own choices. The big kids had trouble. The Montessori kids-no trouble at all. In between, they settled down when they figured out I wasn't going to help them or stop them or give them guidance. My second observation-how the children respond to my manner of guidance and management. Except for the Montessori children, the kids here are used to corporal punishment and detention in a windowless room at the school. Some children are sent to the principal's office for a whupping. Oh, it's time to bring them into the 21st century. It is a different cultural value and mentality to whup children and to use those kinds of management "tools"."Tools", *snort*! A child is considered extrememly disrepectful if they answer you without saying Ma'am or Sir. My last observation is the one that keeps me coming back. I work harder here almost and sometimes harder than I work at home at my "real job". It tires me out. And the kids soak it up. The enthusiasm they have to learn never stops. It peeters sometimes but never goes away.
Rorica is now reading over my shoulder. She wants to tell Colleen and Brigid that Mih Ern is learning to play basketball. She learnin'. She says I am a 2 on the 4 point rubric-1 being out to lunch 4-being Michael Jordan. Rorica can play with enthusiasm and drive. She is a ball hog from time to time. BUT SHE IS LEARNING! SHe says I should get rid of that last part but I say no. She IS working on that skill. Jamika is also here right now. She can play some amazing soccer when she doesn't have food posoning from Taco Bell. She likes to laugh all the time. She plays basketball really well. She is also going to be a pediatrician when she grows up. She is going to Jackson State University with Rorica. They are planning to be roommates. They are both 12 right now.
Much love to you all. Oh, and I learned that they deep fry pickles here in MS and they actually eat them. They also still smoke in the taverns. I forgot about that last night when we went to eat in Batesville. Kalunda is here now, too. SHe helped do the dishes today. That girl can dance!!!


  • At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You tell those girls of yours that the thought of you playing basketball made me laugh so hard I fell off my chair! love you!

  • At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Basketball??? *snort* Howzabout showing some mean soccer skillz. You should have seen the sista's work it last Wed. It was magic! xoxo & miss you - maude


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