Friday, June 13, 2008


Two weeks, 3 days left in Cambodia. Things are wrapping up. I’m taking a lot of pictures and reflecting, even more than usual.
Today I woke up and was very glad it was Friday. I’ve been having a lot of dreams the last 2 weeks. I probably dream more because I am sleeping more. In all honesty, I sleep more so I don’t have to be awake as long. There is little to do anyway. Evenings I spend alone. But the dreams have been exhausting. All of the dreams find me failing to adjust at home or getting raped in Cambodia. I often wake up in tears. Walking out the door to face another day is that much more difficult.
I am done teaching new lessons, so reviewing has started for final tests. My kids understand I’m leaving soon. I will definitely miss some more than others. For my kids last journal entry I asked them to write me a letter. I wasn’t specific as to what it had to say. For one of the first times they didn’t complain about the assignment.
A few favorites:
“Since I studied in the CAS I have met three foreign teachers. Some were so strict I felt scared of them, but you were a teacher that work and laugh with the students. Sometimes, you also danced and sang for the students.” -Tok Siv Heang
“It was very hard to getting to know you, because I didn’t know you before, and in the first 2 months I also hated you so much. But many times passed away, I felt that my thought has been changed. Many times that I tired or bored, you encouraged my mind and I felt that you liked me and you gave the warmth to me anytime I needed.”
-Chan Mariya
“All the times you sang, I felt sleepy but it not mean that your voice is horrible but because your voice is soft like a canary.” -Rachana
“You are a good teacher and you are so friendly. Sometimes act like a kid and sometimes like an old person. All of these words is from my heart, and it is not mean that I want to get more points from you.” -Ngov Sonita
“In the time for studying you always have teached student by friendly and happy everytime. Eventhough, that student always disturbed, speaking with eachother, and talked a bad word to you. You never angry to they, you always smile and talk to them by soft word.” -Angelina Ros
“Last year my class was a big problem or virus for school. We made a lot of troubles but this year, we all were changing because of you. You are changing us. Now I know that you by which the environments around me have changing me and all of us. I never have a good teacher as you since I studied here. You’re my best teacher ever and ever.” -Rattanack
And a personal favorite…
“Ms.Bo, to be honest, I didn’t like you very much at the beginning of the year. But day by day, I realized that are a great teacher and I started to like you. Ms.Bo, you might think that you are not a great teacher, but that isn’t true. I enjoyed every moment you spent with us. I just want to let you know that words alone cannot express how great you are to be our teacher and how much we love you. God bless you and your whole family. May He also protect you on the way back home.” -Pen David

I have read and re-read the words of my students, believing what they wrote some days more than others. If I had this encouragement all year, it might’ve been a little easier. But, as noted, they didn’t feel this way about me all year! From their perception though, I’ve done ok.
I thought back to my years of high school. One day I was talking to a bible teacher at Campion, Steve Carlson. He told met that teaching preschoolers is instant gratification, they hate you one second and love you the next. But teaching high schoolers is delayed gratification. Why are we so darned stubborn letting people know how great they are? I thought hard about this and committed to writing letters to the teachers who had honestly changed me in high school. One of them approached me in tears, thanking me for the encouragement. Now I understand why.
I have never taken an education class in college. I’m just a volunteer “acting” like a teacher. But I obviously learned a few things about teaching from how I have been taught.
It is not possible to encourage someone too much. So, on that note:
Thank you Mrs. Dorothy Simpson, you taught me that I did not have to fall in love with math, I just had to pass. So at 6:45am most weekday mornings you offered help with Algebra II and help with life.
Thank you Mr. Harold Williams, for your patience, your kind heart, and your sense of adventure in a Chemistry class you’ve taught over and over again for more than 20 years.
Thank you Benjie Maxson, you brought God into view and taught me about a different side of Christianity, a side I desperately needed.
Thank you Mrs. Johnson, for showing me how to communicate well and how to live well.
Thank you Mr. Beans, for the coaching, for the debates, for the dating advice, and for still not giving up on me, even half-a-world away.
As the world threatens to diminish the human connection to only cell phones, email, and myspace comments, I dare you to remind someone how important they are to you and I dare you to do it face-to-face. Maybe you’ll keep them holding on a bit longer in world where we all just feel like giving up.
My kids have kept me hanging on, which is why I am still here.