by Dawn Casey-Rowe, Social Studies Teacher & Learnist Evangelist The first days of school are surreal. The room that has sat empty for months is full again. Kids are back–and boisterous. And they’ve all gotten...
Detainee's daughter Camille Almnama in #school the first day of first grade. She says that restrictions prevented me with my father at school on the first day , will not prevent me from remembering and carrying his image. She said that I try hard in my studies and raise the head of my father also.... ابنة المعتقل كميل المنامي في يومها الدراسي الاول من الصف الاول الابتدائي, تقول ان منعني القيد من وجود ابي معي في يومي الدراسي الاول لن يمنعني من تذكره وحمل صورته. وقالت باني ساجتهد وارفع راس ابي كما هو رفع راسي وجعلني فخورة به .. !
Here is a story that may bring tears to your eyes even though it is a happy one – about a 28-year old first-grader who is fulfilling her dream to learn to read. Includes video.
Never too old to learn
Arusa Pisuthipan Video by Arusa Pisuthupan and Chumporn Sangvilert.
Just like her six-year-old classmates, Boonruang Pohdaeng's typical weekday starts in the school playground when she and her friends line up for the national anthem at 8am before proceeding to their morning classes and one-hour lunchbreak. At 1.30pm, their afternoon classes start and their school day ends at 4.
The only difference is that Boonruang is 28 years old.
"I only wish I could read and write," said Boonruang while sitting in her classroom at Nongkatat School in Saraburi's Nong Saeng district. Her desk, which fits the size of first graders, is way too small for Boonruang's height, forcing her to bend her knees as much as she can in order to manage her proper sitting posture.
n her desk drawer, there is a neat stack of elementary school textbooks whose worn-out covers suggest that they have been frequently read.
"Life is difficult if I am illiterate. I cannot go anywhere without someone accompanying me. I cannot read signs. Neither can I count money."
On weekends, Boonruang's schedule is completely different from that of her peers. While her young friends enjoy themselves with fun activities at home or are taken out by parents, Boonruang has to stick around at home, take care of her sick mother and do household chores.
Extremely timid and introverted, Boonruang usually had a long pause before giving an answer during the interview. Especially when asked about her mother, she appeared as if she did not want to utter a word.
But when the subject of discussion was shifted to her education, she seemed to open up a bit. A tiny smile was spotted on her face when asked what her favourite subject was.
"I like mathematics," noted Boonruang, counting her fingers while trying to figure out the sum of three plus two. In Thai-language class, she was asked to practice writing simple Thai words. But she refused to colour her exercise book when her homeroom teacher asked her to, as if all the joy in her life had long vanished.
Born and brought up in Saraburi by once loving parents, Boonruang grew up and had a life just like other kids her age. When she was four, the young girl enrolled in a kindergarten class at Nongkatat School where she is currently studying. Not long after that, unfortunately, Boonruang's mother – extremely disappointed with her failed marriage – became mentally ill. The situation forced Boonruang out of school in order to look after her mother.
But the idea of going back to class did not totally disappear from the woman's head. Many times she asked her mother whether she could return to school but the answer would be exactly the same every time she begged.
"Mum usually said that I could not study, that I am a slow learner and that I would not be able to catch up with friends at school," recalled Boonruang, currently living with her mother, her uncle and her aunt. The family earns their living through rice farming.
In May this year, Boonruang's aunt decided to take her back to school.
After Somporn Pakkapork, the school's director, was informed of Boonruang's request to study, he decided to give her a chance to start her elementary education regardless of her age.
"It was the first day of the semester when she came to our school and asked for my permission to study," said Somporn, adding Boonruang showed signs of slight developmental delay which might perhaps be a result of the lack of socialisation since young. "She dressed in her worn-out clothes and hardly spoke to people. She only said she wanted to be able to read and write. So I told her I would have to put her in first grade and she agreed."
Being placed with other first graders, Boonruang not only learns the fundamentals of several subjects such as Thai and mathematics, but she also gets an opportunity to socialise – a thing she has not done for more than 20 years. Now it has been almost three months since Boonruang began her education and according to Kingkaew Boonnithisom, her homeroom teacher, she shows good signs of development.
"The fact that Boonruang is a lot older than her classmates really helps her with her learning skills," said Kingkaew.
"I explained things to her and she quickly understood everything. She does not care whether or not she will receive any academic certificate. She only wishes that she will become literate and that she will be able to read things such as news tickers or karaoke subtitles."
PBIS FUN!! As you may already know, our school is a PBIS school. We teach positive behavior interventions and supports. Yesterday was our first day of school and we had our PBIS kick-off today. All teachers in our ...
How amazing would it be to start the first day of school receiving random acts of kindness from your fellow students? Last year, a hundred students at Kansas State huddled early in the morning to see just how they could pool their time, money and creativity to surprise (and perhaps shock!) their fellow students with unexpected generosity. From a welcome applause to paying for meals to wowing a driver with parallel park assistance, this is a video that'll make you smile.
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