Amanda and Niurka are both third-grade teachers and work in Havana and Matanzas, respectively. Amanda is doing miracles to continue teaching at home while Niurka is already back at school.
Both will be linked forever to my younger son’s life. And I believe they will never forget my little boy. However, this is not an individual story. This is a story that occurs throughout the island, where professors are standing out once again. They provide care, forget about regionalism, fear and they share, give, do their best…
Havana, September 1st 2020
This September 1st was a very sad day for Mrs. Amanda: “After 34 years, being away from my classroom is hard,” writes me Amanda via WhatsApp. She is now away from her beloved students, but manages to keep an eye on them.
Before I figured out what to do with my son Javi — enrolled in a school in Havana, but spent these months of social distancing with my family in Matanzas — Javi’s teacher already had clear ideas: “You should try to enroll Javi there. Being at school is paramount from him. He needs to get along with other students and get back to the school dynamics.”
At the same time, with the fear triggered by coronavirus outbreaks near her, the lack of resources, she is still brave enough to cheer up her students’ mothers:
“I must convey happiness and self-confidence. We shall go on with our lives and resist. We must do our best so that students embrace teleclasses as something very important. To do so, we need to motivate them since they have spent so much time away. We cannot do anything different now.”
She liked the first teleclasses very much. She believes they are going to be useful if taken seriously. Of course, she would love to be in the classroom, as usual. The first teacher in at the Abel Santamaría school.
Matanzas (same day)
She stared at me — a woman with whom I had barely exchanged few words before — and told me: “Don’t worry. Let’s work. Javier is not my student. But he actually is.” It looked like a tongue-twister, but it was not.
As professor Amanda suggested, Javi resumed his school year at the Antonio Luis Moreno elementary school, in Matanzas. I thought I needed to ask for a favor, but instead it was a duty as it was directed that transient students from other provinces must be accepted in any school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything was already set.
So I took Javi to school on September 1st and returned home at ease with the situation. I had already explained Javi’s new professor his special characteristics and she said he was very welcome no matter his situation or his province were: “He is mine now, as long as it takes. I have spent so many years teaching. I am demanding, but I love encouraging the students’ creativity. I do my best so they don’t get bored and learn while playing. You will see everything is going to be all right.”
During the quarantine — some parents told me — professor Niurka kept in touch with them. She called each and even challenged them to celebrate April 4th with their children dressed up in full uniform. She kept an eye on them as well.
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff