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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The ghost inside my student

Today I walked into the grade 10-D classroom and the co-teacher and I were just starting to kick into high gear teaching “Greetings, Introductions, and Leave Taking” complete with squeaky yellow rubber duckies when one of the students slumped over in her chair. Several students nearby stood and were pointing at her. Three boys and a girl quickly picked her up – her body was stiff – and carried her to the health room. The co-teacher went with them.

I asked the students, “Was she dizzy?” and they said, “No, a ghost is inside her.” I asked how that could happen and they said that if you put your hands under your chin and begin to day dream, it is like an invitation for a ghost to come inside you. They said the ghost comes into you from the top of your head. The students were quiet and we could hear the girl screaming in the health room, although she looked “passed out” when they carried her out. The ghost had gone into the girl once before, on the weekend, while they were camping in tents. None of the other students in the tent had seen it.

I asked if there were other ghosts in the classroom and they seemed hesitant to comment. They told me that ghosts like corners. I said, “Aren’t ghosts supposed to live in cemeteries?” and they said that this ghost was from the train tracks near the school. The story is that a person was killed by the train and the ghost just hangs out near the school.

I asked if everyone believed in ghosts and 2 students out of 39 shook their heads, “No.” I asked again and the 2 initial non-believers were hesitant to go against the group consensus. I asked if it would help if there was an older person around who had some “spiritual power” and the students said yes and they seemed relieved.

When the co-teacher came back she told the class that there is no ghost, that the student was depressed because her older brother was mean to her and that they were sending her home.

At the end of class I asked her about the ghost again and she said that she personally doesn’t believe in ghosts, she thinks it is the active imagination of the teenage students, but that the Holy Qu’ran does mention “spirits.” She had called her friend who is more “religious” than she is and he had told her that she shouldn’t do anything to the student because you can’t usually make it any better, but you can often make matters worse.

This is the new teacher at my school. Half of my time is now spent in her classes. We teach 5 different groups of students for 2 class periods each week and then she teaches by herself for 2 other class periods. She told me that she likes to teach alone because I am so cheerful and patient and she feels she needs some time to teach when she doesn’t have to be so cheerful and patient.

I laughed and told her that as the year continued she’d notice that I’m not always cheerful and patient!

My schedule this year is that I teach to 16 different groups of students – approximate 40 students in each group. (A little over 600 total students.) 5 groups get 2 instructions periods per week and 11 groups get one co-teaching session and 3 sessions with just the Indonesian teacher. I like being the “fun and games” teacher – it’s kind of like being a grandma!

PS I’ll let you know if any more ghosts come to my classes.

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