Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The Realities of an International School
The other day, I was reminded of one of the grimming aspects that I hate most about my school in a conversation with one of my students. This is a new student at our school and has quickly worked herself into a soft spot in my heart, as she is incredibly sweet and just a joy to teach and talk to. Noticing her standing alone during recess on this particular day just watching people, I decided to go have a chat with her about how she is fitting in with the other students. It is then that she confessed the reality of emotions that she, along with many other ex-patriot kids, have to face. Her and her family just moved here, but they know it is just a temporary stop before they then have to move again, which is not all that uncommon in an international school, as many of students have parents whose jobs require them to move about constantly. This is not only hard for me as a teacher, as I am constantly having to say goodbye to students I have a genuine care and concern for and have worked hard at building a relationship with, but it is particularly hard for the students themselves. Having experienced the heartache of saying goodbye to countless friends already in their short lives, they are thrust into this opportunity cost assessment at each school they go to. Basically, the students have two choices, they can either alienate themselves from their classmates completely and save themselves from the emotional pain of having to lose yet another person they had confided themselves in, or they decide to invest the short time they have available into building new friendships and make their time at each school more enjoyable, but then never see the dividends of those investments after they become separated from their new friends. It broke my heart to hear this student look at me and tell me that she is intentionally detaching herself from her classmates to avoid the pain of losing more friends, but I honestly could not blame her. It is just one of the sad realities of an international school.