Las preocupaciones de los niños y menos de su maestra…

Over the weekend I went to 10 Thousand Villages to look at all the fairly-traded things I can buy from around the world. Little artifacts from Spanish-speaking countries were especially tempting. I ended up getting a rainstick and some Guatemalan worry dolls. I remember having a tiny round wood box of them when I was younger, and making these out of toothpicks and thread. I don’t remember ever actually using them, but I do remember whispering secrets to the climbing tree in the yard (best friend of a home schooled kid; don’t laugh) and putting little prayers under the bases of statues.

We’re talking about these things in class, comparing the Mayan worry dolls to Native American dream catchers to teddy bears to nightlights to monster checks under the bed.

The little kids made their own worry dolls out of paper, and wrote things they’re worried about or scared of on the back.

  • Volcanoes.
  • Wolves.
  • The “Boge* Man.”
  • Storms.
  • The dark.
  • Vampires.
  • The ghosts under my bed.
  • Thunder, rain, sunburn, and fire.
  • Roller coasters.
  • Spiders. (Spdrs. Spobers. Spidrs.)
  • My uncle.
  • Monsters.
  • “Sireo” killers.
  • About a monster trying to kill me with a big chainsaw. (From a very articulate 2nd grader…)

We talked about ways our parents help us feel better when we’re worried, and then put all the worry dolls in a box on the highest shelf in the classroom. The next day we opened up the box and found that – surprise! – the worry dolls had disappeared, leaving behind stickers and a note that said “No te preocupes” (don’t worry) in Spanish. Some kids were appropriately mystified, but even the ones who were onto me said that yes, they felt a little less worried.

Funny how the spontaneous ideas that jump out at you sometime on Sunday night are nearly always more successful than the ones you spend weeks concocting, with the national language standards next to you

So maybe the little kids are sleeping easier, and that’s good. As for me, days packed to exhaustion help me sleep at night, more than any peace of mind could. Someday everything will be easier. (Or maybe it won’t.)

*A note for Anna: Please note that it is still cute when 1st and 2nd graders are using outlandish spelling that is phonetic at best. It’s not so cute when the 8th graders haven’t gotten much more literate…


4 Responses to Las preocupaciones de los niños y menos de su maestra…

  1. annadefenestrated says:

    Okay, is text messaging the reason for these pobrecitos writing these things?

    Or should we be grateful that they didn’t put: “cereal killers.” Illiteracy freaks me out. It seems unnatural and sad, because books for me were such a good thing growing up. It’s like imagining someone growing up with no friends. Illiteracy=no friends.

    But that’s so cute that you put the serial killers and volcanoes in a box and then they disappeared!

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