The Teacher I Met and How Hurricane Harvey will Affect Her Classroom
On Monday the family and I drove down from the DFW area to the Houston area, Katy to be specific, to help out a friend whose home was flooded during Hurricane Harvey. The Mr. works on cars and he went to look at their cars and see if they could be fixed or were a loss. While there we were there a church group was driving through the neighborhood letting everyone know that hot meals were being handed out in the clubhouse at the entrance of the neighborhood. This led to a series of events in which we met a teacher who lived just a few houses down from my friend. This woman’s story broke our hearts.
This woman was an older woman, probably in her fifties, who lived alone with her three dogs. Her house had gotten up to five feet of water in it. Because her house was damaged and not safe to live in, she was sleeping in a cot on her driveway with her three dogs. She had spent one night in a hotel but it was too expensive and no one really wants to take in three dogs. Her appliances were all damaged and her clothes were wet and mildewing, so my friend took her clothes and started doing her laundry for her.
Outside her lawn was filled with ruined books. There were professional books about teaching. There were classroom sets of books. There were bags and bags of markers and crayons all full of water. You see, this woman was a teacher. She was a Hispanic woman who taught dual language classes in ages raging from Kindergarten to Third Grade. This year she was going to be teaching the 3rd graders. Every year at the end of the year she brought home boxes and boxes of supplies so that she could reorganize them for the next year, depending on what year the district was going to have her teach. This year it was going to be 3rd grade.
This teacher, E I will call her, stood outside and cried as she told us the stories of the books she owned. She told us about the professional conferences she had gone to and how she had bought each book to better help her kids. Some of them had been signed to her by the speakers as she had stood briefly and spoken to them about how to be a better teacher and shared stories of the children she had taught over the years. Her loss was palpable and real. Not only could you see it all around you, but you could feel how it how shook her to the core.
As I tweeted about meeting this teacher, many people messaged me and said they would love to help her replace her books, which she will eventually need. But that day, we all stood in her drive way and worked to find a safe place for her to stay that wasn’t outside and wasn’t inside a house that was wet and already starting to mold.
I am back home in DFW today, but I have not stopped thinking about E.
Below I have storified my tweets from that day.
Seeing the Effects of Hurricane Harvey//
Filed under: Professional Development
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
SLJ Blog Network