Letter to My Refugee Student #SOL17

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Dear “Ahmed,”

We have only just met, but I have so much I want to know about you, your family, your life. There are so many things I am wondering about, curious about, but do not feel it is my place to ask. I am just your Kindergarten teacher, and how long for, I do not know. If I could, I would ask you:

  • When did your family flee your country?
  • Were you really running from those whose name I dare not say, but I hear about on the news daily?
  • Where were you when your house was bombed? Did you really lose everything?
  • Why did you flee to a neighboring country? Did you really go on foot? Were you able to bring anything? Were you really only four years old?
  • How did you eventually find your way to the United States? Who assisted you?
  • How truly complicated is your family’s life with your sister wheelchair-bound? Your parents not able to find work?
  • How does it feel not to have a home of your own? To live with another family who, out of the goodness of their hearts, opened their doors to you. But for how long?
  • Do you feel safe in our country? In our community? In this school? In our classroom?
  • What do you need from me? How can I help you to feel safe? To feel loved? To feel wanted?
  • When will you stop calling me “Teacher,” and start using my name?
  • How is it that you arrive at school each day, skipping down the hallway, excited for the day ahead and what it will bring?
  • How long will you bless our class and our school with those enormous, sad, brown eyes that have seen more in your brief six years on this planet than I will in a lifetime?

If I could, I’d ask you these questions, because I truly want to know. I care. I am worried. I don’t know how to help you, your family, your country. Please let me help.

Love,

Mrs. Wyman, your teacher

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18 thoughts on “Letter to My Refugee Student #SOL17

  1. Welcome to the SOLC. You’ve begun with a poignant piece. Ahmed is a lucky boy to have you be his “Teacher”. I hope you share some answers to your questions, if not too personal, about this journey you have been blessed with. Many of us are worried about the refugees, and are doing what we can to protect them. Thanks for sharing your questions, a wonderful way to show this new child in your class.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, so glad I found your piece this morning! (I may borrow this format of writing a letter to a student later this month–thank you for the inspiration.) I found your questions about safety so moving. It is not only a physical safety we provide for our students but also an emotional safety, and that’s much harder to achieve, especially with students who come from hard places.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome to #sol17! What a great start to this month of blogging! Your post reminds us that there is so much that our students have experienced outside of school walls that we need to think about and consider. Like Elisabeth, I think that I am going to try writing a letter to a student. Thank you for inspiring me!

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    1. Thanks for you welcome to #SOL17. I saw writing in letter form on a list of slicing suggestions and thought I’d give it a try. It’s seemed the comfortable “genre” to work through my thoughts and feeling on this subject. Happy slicing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As I reflect on your post, I am looking into the faces of nine and ten year olds that I feel the exact same way about. They pull my heart strings, and I want to know their stories. Slowly, through the year, I have learned about most of them, but there is always a few stories that I want to know and always questions to ask. I believe this shows how much we care.

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  5. All the worlds are colliding, and yes, the intersection of education & immigration has always been so closely bound…

    Some of my most vivid memories as a child refugee were on school grounds, with a kind teacher offering me some advice, when others would laugh at my worn out clothing, or my broken words.

    It is in part for their memory that I want to pay it forward, becoming that guarding angel you epitomize, so thank you! Like you, there are many other teachers, guardian angels I am sure, and it is through your kind actions, and words, that you foster these refugee children and help them grow to be successful citizens of the world.

    In turn, they will end up fighting the bigotry and prejudice every day that continues a downward spiral we must stop…

    A teacher did that for me once, many years ago; I see you doing that now, and I thank you for all these children today!

    Besos, not borders! Ana

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Besos, not borders, indeed. I am so pleased that his experience with us, thus far, has been positive. His classmates know nothing of his background or experience, they have embraced him literally and figuratively from day one. Hugs to you!

      Liked by 2 people

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