This picture was taken in Xi’an China in the the summer of 2003. My friend Judy Barr (Bahh with her aussie accent) is in pink, Rocky (our interpreter) is making little antennas on my head and I am on the far left. We are at a very old monument –crazy old like 800 years or something like that–it’s actually tilted, but thats hard to tell. We were working there and every weekend we all piled into taxi cabs and went to a gazillion places. The trip was intense…between the teaching and the going around on the weekends, I slept for 5 days straight when I got home. Ok maybe not 5, maybe only 4. The best thing about the whole experience was that it didn’t cost me a dime… in fact I came home 1000 richer. Mmmm that’s how to travel.
The school I work at, David Douglas, is considered a school heavily affected by poverty. It is about 70 percent free and reduced lunches and while the ESL population is about 20 percent, if you were to include the kids who are not receiving direct ESL instruction and have been exited from that program, the number would go up more to like 50 or 60 percent.
Whenever I consider these numbers, I always feel proud of my school. The teachers care a lot, the kids know it. I have heard horror stories about what happens in other high schools…and I can genuinely say I know our school is different. There are those moments, there always will be with the poverty level as it is here. I know there are lots of kids at our school grappling with totally unacceptable home circumstances, and that comes to school with them, plays out as clear as day in the class and halls. But overall, the kids know that the adults care at our school, and there is a good atmosphere to that end there.