Tomorrow I am going to a shelter to help with Katrina victims. This has been a wierd experience being here, in Baytown, where so many refugees are being sheltered and even more drive through on their way to Houston. I've never been so close to such a worldwide tragedy. There is word that the school that I teach at will be enrolling some of these students in an effort to help these children who are homeless for the time being get back to their education. On the one hand, this is necessary and I'm pround that my school and I can be a part in helping. On the other hand it is quite frightening. For one thing, we are past capacity as it is, being a quickly growing district with a new school to open in the next 4-5 years. Second, and possibly more importantly, how do we continue on with everyday activities when there is someone in the class who has just been through a very public and very tragic event. The other students will undoubtedly want to talk about the issue with the student. That student may simply want to not be there. It is very likely that these refugee children will be closed off and shy or emotional. Which, for teenagers, translates to "behavioral issue." It may sound wrong to assume that just because a kid has had a hard life that he/she is a discipline problem, and it isn't 100%, but the trend goes that way.
I'm sure that, if students do begin enrolling in our school that we will make do. I will welcome them into my classroom with open arms and a smile and I hope that every other teacher does, too. But, we will definitely require some prayer. Teaching is not easy. Teaching kids who have had tragedy in their lives is even harder. Hopefully, whatever happens, the end result will be a stronger community, a more compassionate student body, and a lesson on what it is like to have nothing. The kids who attend my classes, now, need that lesson more than anything.