As I walk up the steps of the building I can see the little heads peaking out the windows, hands waving with excitement at the idea of a teacher coming into the neighborhood- the building- the house. The head disappears from the window as I knock on the door. My knock is followed by a long pause- did they hear me, I wonder, as I hear whispers and what sounds like last minute cleaning. Something bumps the door on the other side- children fighting to peek through the peep hole. I try to smile, not knowing who is watching me.
The door opens and I'm greeted by the extended family. A tour of the main room- the child's baby pictures displayed proudly on the walls, art work from previous years taped up with pride. Notes from previous teachers stuck to the refrigerator. This is a family proud of their child.
We laugh, all of us- the parents, the child, the cousins, the uncles, the aunts. Someone translates for those who don't speak English, even if it means calling a relative to translate by speaker phone. We talk about how the year is going, how proud of the child we are, our shared hopes and dreams for the child. I listen as I hear their fears, their dreams, their concerns. I promise to try my hardest to make those dreams happen, to prevent those fears from coming true.
We high five and hug, laugh some more and promise to see each other Monday.
I leave the building with little heads peeking out at windows watching me walk away just as they watched me walk in.
I get into my car on a home-visit high and drive home to my own family, my daughter waiting for me to cuddle and play with her. I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning.