I covered for our art teacher during my plan today. I always like going into other classrooms to see how the kids act in a different environment. I found out that kids in the art room behave about the same as kids in my room.
We have three foreign exchange students this year and two of them are in the art class I covered. Both were working on clay masks in a country they have lived in for eight months. My mind wandered off and for some reason I got to thinking about how they would get those clay creations home.
Would they pack them in a suitcase? On a carry on? Maybe they would mail stuff. How much did they bring over in the first place? How do you plan to spend a year away at school halfway across the world?
I don't have any of the girls in my own classes, but they have all been involved in everything they possibly could throughout the year, so I have come to know them a little bit through the track team. I know they are homesick (who wouldn't be?). I know they are all pretty smart and are taking some challenging classes. I know at home they do not have school organized sports and the whole idea of sports competition kind of freaks them out. I know they work harder than a lot of kids that live here.
I haven't had much of a chance to talk to them about the differences in school cultures, so I don't really know how we compare, but from what I gather, aside from the language barrier, they haven't been terribly challenged academically.
So I'm wondering what it is they will take home. When you go home and talk about your experience with your friends, what do you say?
"Those Americans, no wonder they do terrible on international tests!" *
"Those Americans are so lucky to have what they have and they take it for granted!"
"Those Americans, they have it made, short school days AND the school pays for your sports!"
"Those Americans are so lucky, their teacher talks to them like a person!" **
"Those Americans have lots of bad weather!" ***
"Those Americans made me feel like I have lived there all my life!"
I don't really know what they will take home. I hope it is good. I hope their experience has been one that will stay will them for the rest of their lives.
And I hope they look back at their time here as an amazing experience that was filled with everything they expected and more.
Now that I think about it, I truly want that for the kids that live here as well.
*Like I care...
**This is actually paraphrased from one of those kids talking about me.
***I live in Kansas. We have had three tornado warnings this spring, not to mention hail about once a week.
****Got a little heavy handed with the footnotes today, didn't I???