Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Difference a Braid Makes

I wouldn't say that I normally look like slightly-warmed death on most days, but I'll admit that I am quite lax in my appearance most of the time. There just isn't much sense in wearing make-up and dressy clothes when you spend two hours of each day chasing, lifting, hugging, and restraining kindergartners. Plus, I usually have at least one crier each day, so my shirt gets damp. Today I was even more casual than normal, wearing jeans and a t-shirt because I was running late this morning. My hair was being rebellious, so I stuck it in a braid.

Now my hair has only just now gotten long enough to braid, so this was the first time I have gone to school with my hair braided. The kindergartners could not get over this strange transformation in their beloved S-tep-anie-Teacher. Every single kid told me over and over "Teacher, hair is beautiful!" or "Teacher, hair is princess today!" Never mind that my attire was more befitting a bum than a teacher, the hair was a hit!

Playing with the first class mussed my hair a bit - which I really didn't care about, so long as it wasn't in my face. However, the Korean kindergarten teacher, Angel, decided that the situation must be dealt with, so she french-braided my hair. Wow! The kids' excitement multiplied tenfold. All my afternoon classes started with student-initiated discussions about just how much the kids liked my hair - and even the boys commented! It was like being in an episode of the twilight zone! I haven't seen this much excitement in the kids since the first time I wore a skirt to class!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"