Coda to Roller Coaster Day

In the midst of the panic and fear as we searched for my missing student, there were at least three of us calling other kiddos. We went through the bus list and called kids who use the same bus stop and other kids on that bus we know to be responsible and observant. We also called a few kids from my class. It was quite an impressive system with some folks searching lists for useful names, others looking up those kiddos’ information, and others making the calls.

As I was scanning a list I realized one of the other teachers who had jumped in to help (even when she really should have been picking her own kids up from their babysitter) was struggling to communicate. I turned and asked if she needed some help with Spanish. She said yes and I grabbed the phone.

I’m not sure what I was thinking. There was a period in my life when I could have grabbed that phone and had a perfectly coherent conversation in Spanish. However that period was about twenty years ago. But I was in a panic and not thinking clearly.

To me, the conversation went something like this:

Hello? I would like to speak with L. I’m a teacher at A.T.

L. is not here. He is at another house.

Can I call him there? Do you have that number? We need to ask him about another student on the bus this morning.

I don’t have that number on hand. But I can contact him and have him call you.

Yes. Thank you.

And I hung up. However, I hung up completely uncertain if that really had been the conversation. And uncertain as to whether or not he would call. Fortunately, a few minutes later L. called us. Unfortunately L. had not been on the bus today.

As I reflected on the conversation, much later in a much calmer state of mind, I realized the conversation probably sounded more like this:

Hello? Me talks with L. Me teacher A.T.

L. is not here. He is at another house.

Me call here? You know number? We want question about other student bus today.

I don’t have that number on hand. But I can contact him and have him call you.

Yes. Thank you.

When I shared these thoughts with my daughters, my fifth grader said, “Wow mom, she was probably wondering how you could be a teacher if you talked like that.” Good point, girl, good point.

Even though we didn’t get helpful information from L. I appreciate that whoever I talked with at his house was so patient with my terrible Spanish and still took me seriously. We truly have the greatest families at our school.

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