Sometime before lunch | Rabat, Morocco
Where did they find these folks I’m with?
Leslie, who is trilingual, speaks about the power of language; challenging us how to find ways to fill our mouths with the shape of words that move structures of power.
Jill, the art teacher in the group, speaks softly, but in such affirming ways about the role of art in her life and in the classroom.
Michelle, a pocket Hercules of a librarian from Alaska, boisterously laughs and questions, moves the conversation in ways of a shapeshifter.
There are the quiet observers like Christa, my partner in crime for our stay in Fkih Ben Saleh, but she is ever present, carefully peeling back the layers of our stay like an onion.
There’s Patrick, a World History teacher in Florida, who continuously blows my mind with the way he turns every situation into a teachable moment with his resilience and love for all things, all people.
Houria, an English teacher here and consultant, is our patient teacher, has patiently answered our hundreds of questions about Morocco, taken every query with the seriousness of a surgeon.
Travis, my brother from another at Ron Brown HS in DC, is our soul, dapping up the people we meet, teaching a new dance, responding with righteousness, when the rest of us are still turning over a response in our heads.
Vicky generously gave me her USB, so I could present the video of my students to the class at Abi Dar Alghiffari School. She is the mama, always ready with a comeback, but kind, thoughtful, and incisive to a fault.
Katherine, who teaches U.S. Government in Missouri, is another quiet one, but incredibly observant, always asking questions that make me slow my roll, think, and make me want to be a student in her class.
Kari reminds me so much of Jill, the 11th grade teacher at my school. In every situation, Kari has been so deliberate about making space to talk with everyone, to commune with all of us, which in turn reminds me to do the same.
Eleanor, the quietest in the group, speaks the loudest when she chooses to speak, always solution-oriented, always deeply honest.
Molly, who pinched her neck, is a tiny warrior, taking the same skills she uses bouldering without belaying, which means she doesn’t use a rope. We were presentation partners, showing the students at the Abi Dar Alghiffari School the lives of our students. Her presentation made me want to visit New Mexico. That hot air balloon festival looks unreal.
Emily is our facilitator. A former teacher, she now works on the logistics side of the fellowship program to do everything from taking pictures and ensuring we’re fed to keeping us on time and answering some of the sticky political questions in an non-partisan way. But she’s still teaching us and I’m in full on admiration with how she is still teaching us by leading from the rear.