Monday, June 7, 2010


Every elementary school classroom probably has that one student who loves to shower her teacher with homemade gifts and trinkets. In my classroom, that student is Ashima, who came to my class from an English boarding school in Nepal. Ashima is an adorable, pint-sized study in the adjustments of immigration: At seven years old, she has an impressive knowledge of her Nepalese background ("Miss Brave, in Nepal, the cats are our gods"), but her wardrobe is 100% Hannah Montana. I have no idea what it's like to attend an English boarding school in Nepal, but it definitely hasn't always been easy for Ashima to adjust to life in a New York City public school; more than any other of my students, she's so easily upset by perceived slights of friendship or disturbances in which she doesn't receive a proper apology for the injustice in question.

Ashima comes to school nearly every day bearing some gift for me; once, a little bracelet she made from beads, once a figurine of a dog with a bobbling head. But today, she outdid herself; inside the bag she proudly presented to me was a miniature tank with a single beta fish swimming lazily around a teeny palm tree.

I let the kids write down suggestions for its name; ultimately, I went with Wilbur. So now we're a classroom of 28 children, 30 brassica plants, 1 burned-out teacher, and 1 Wilbur the fish. Here's my concern, though: My birthday is on Wednesday. Do I need to worry that she's going to bring me a puppy?


Anonymous said...

if you have a crowded classroom with 28 2nd graders, I can only imagine what it must be like in a class of 30+ 4th or 5th graders.

miss brave said...

Oy, don't even get me started! I think my room looks more spacious than it is -- you wouldn't walk in and think it feels small, but when you're in there all day with 28 kids, it starts to...shrink.

My classroom furniture consists of tables, not desks. I have six tables with enough desks for four at each table, or 24 kids in all. But since I have 28, I have to seat 4 kids at the ends of each table. Because they don't have desks, I gave them bins to keep all their stuff in, and the bins are always getting kicked all over the floor.

Honestly, when they were talking about firing those 4,400 teachers, I was like, even if I DON'T get fired, if I have to cram 40 kids in this room next year I'll just quit!