Hello peeps, and Happy Monday! “Wah gwaan widyuh todeh? Everything criss?”*Nope, I didn’t step off another planet – just greeting my lovelies in patois. This post literally wrote itself after an odd exchange with my work colleagues. But more on that in a few. This has been a pretty good week. The sun is out, and it’s beautiful in the Sunshine state. The place is nice and quiet, thanks to the pandemic lockdown, and I am still working. I stopped into the brick and mortar to grab a few necessities for teaching my kidoodles until the end of the year. This small act of normalcy made me realize how much I miss my classroom and my coworkers.
Let’s start with the school – can you say ghost town? It is eerie how empty and cavernous the hallways seemed without the chatter of students. My room was clean, chairs stacked and ready for a new day – whenever that might be. The kids’ desks still stuffed with papers, books, and pencils, waiting to be filled with busy students. But enough about the empty building. Let’s just get into it, shall we? The heart of the school is the people. And I work with a fantastic bunch of them; many who hail from Jamaica. This leads me to our elementary group chat: info space, communication log, and let’s stay connected because we are the best K-5 team ever spot.
So here it is, a quiet Thursday in the pandemic, and the nominees for Teacher of the Year start posting. Someone writes, “Bap, Bap!” and I need a dictionary for Jamaican slang. I was offered a bribe, told I was bribing a candidate, and then the slang got slung. “Lawd a massi,” “Juke dem wid culture,” Bun fire fi dat,” “Bram bram,” and “Buyaka, Buyaka.” At this point, I am trying my best to get it, but Google Translate does not offer a patois conversion. And so it went on. Apparently, Google Translate needed a translator.
Of course, the first response was not an offer to translate, but instead, this: ” Reading dis in America accent, Buy a ka! U kill me ded ded…” Now the “pickney’s” start being mentioned. WOW! I unleashed a force of hilarity so intense that my colleague and teammate posted it to the admin. “ATTENTION admin (@our fearless leader) the Jamaicans gone crazy!😜
One compassionate fourth grade teacher penned, “I’m sure Furst is thinking, “what did I start?” to which I replied, “I think I need a drink.”🍷
On a more serious note, I want to shout out to all those Jamaican teachers I work with. They make the days brighter, more fun and more competitive. It seems to me that these island born individuals are born with the BIGGEST hearts and also an insane need to go above and beyond the rest of us in their jobs. It’s like an unspoken rule that they must be the BEST at whatever they are doing. This drives me to work harder and better in my own classroom, leading to better results with my class. So a HUGE thank you peeps.
I see, with my own eyes, some very hard working people. My colleague sat on the playground bench with me watching the kids at play and said, “phew, what a rough day – we are working too hard. This means we are not working smart.” C.B., I get it now. And that makes a lot of sense. So thanks for the great advice. Too often we work towards a goal with the wrong impetus, but working smart cover a lot more ground and can lead to greater successes, especially in our line of work. I love that this rowdy bunch of K-5 teammates have the true belief in the American dream. They believe it, achieve it and I am jealous. So I need to tweak my attitude a bit. Luckily, I have lots of solid role models to inspire me. All I need to do is walk down the hallways.
I’ve reached a point in my career where I want to be surrounded by people who not only share a vision, but a genuine commitment to upholding their own culture and values, and sharing them in the workplace. It is a rare gift to be able to overlap these things, yet where I work, I see it every day. The incredible devotion of the teachers to teaching respect, self-affirmation and sharing their can-do attitude is much larger that life. This school is unlike any I have taught in before. My colleagues are team players, don’t take themselves too seriously, and “know how to have fun.” In short, they are family. Competitive as heck, but family. It’s nice to feel that someone as your back. And I’ve got theirs too.
So summing up this short post, *Tap yah so, and let me thank my colleagues. Lively, Jamaican folk who know how to live richly, enjoy the moment, and make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts. Thank you guys, for keeping me on my toes and helping me up my game. And thank you, for keeping a light heart in our group chat while we are stuck in our homes due to the pandemic. I wouldn’t want it any other way.*Inna di morrows.
- What’s going on with you today? Everything ok?
- Please stop here
- See you later