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Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

The Teacher I Met and How Hurricane Harvey will Affect Her Classroom

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On Monday the family and I drove down from the DFW area to the Houston area, Katy to be specific, to help out a friend whose home was flooded during Hurricane Harvey. The Mr. works on cars and he went to look at their cars and see if they could be fixed or were a loss. While there we were there a church group was driving through the neighborhood letting everyone know that hot meals were being handed out in the clubhouse at the entrance of the neighborhood. This led to a series of events in which we met a teacher who lived just a few houses down from my friend. This woman’s story broke our hearts.

This woman was an older woman, probably in her fifties, who lived alone with her three dogs. Her house had gotten up to five feet of water in it. Because her house was damaged and not safe to live in, she was sleeping in a cot on her driveway with her three dogs. She had spent one night in a hotel but it was too expensive and no one really wants to take in three dogs. Her appliances were all damaged and her clothes were wet and mildewing, so my friend took her clothes and started doing her laundry for her.

Outside her lawn was filled with ruined books. There were professional books about teaching. There were classroom sets of books. There were bags and bags of markers and crayons all full of water. You see, this woman was a teacher. She was a Hispanic woman who taught dual language classes in ages raging from Kindergarten to Third Grade. This year she was going to be teaching the 3rd graders. Every year at the end of the year she brought home boxes and boxes of supplies so that she could reorganize them for the next year, depending on what year the district was going to have her teach. This year it was going to be 3rd grade.

This teacher, E I will call her, stood outside and cried as she told us the stories of the books she owned. She told us about the professional conferences she had gone to and how she had bought each book to better help her kids. Some of them had been signed to her by the speakers as she had stood briefly and spoken to them about how to be a better teacher and shared stories of the children she had taught over the years. Her loss was palpable and real. Not only could you see it all around you, but you could feel how it how shook her to the core.

As I tweeted about meeting this teacher, many people messaged me and said they would love to help her replace her books, which she will eventually need. But that day, we all stood in her drive way and worked to find a safe place for her to stay that wasn’t outside and wasn’t inside a house that was wet and already starting to mold.

I am back home in DFW today, but I have not stopped thinking about E.

Below I have storified my tweets from that day.

Seeing the Effects of Hurricane Harvey//

  1. So we came down from DFW to outside Houston to help a friend clean up after the flood. We’re not even near the worst of it, but:
  2. 4 gas stations have no gas.
    The one with gas would only let you buy $30 worth after paying inside.
    Their food shelves were empty.
  3. We had to be rerouted because one of the roads is 15 feet under water.
    Service roads are flooded.
  4. We just passed an emergency National Guard center.
  5. My friends lost all of their furniture, books, toys, clothes. The Mr is going to see if their cars can be salvaged.
  6. They were rescued by boat at the last minute and they are now stay with family members not affected.
  7. This is the pile of stuff ruined in the flood. Every house for miles has a pile like this outside. https://t.co/O2ZJqu22td

    This is the pile of stuff ruined in the flood. Every house for miles has a pile like this outside. pic.twitter.com/O2ZJqu22td
  8. This is a poorer family. They rent. Dad works 4 part-time jobs, mom works one. 3 kids. They’ve applied for FEMA aid.
  9. Everything smells. The outside smells. It smells like mold and mildew and sludge.
  10. A church group just drove through. They are passing out hot meals and water. That made me cry.
  11. We bought and fit as much h2o, feminine hygiene products, tp, & blankets as we can into our car 2 bring. It's just a smudge of the need https://t.co/luUhfQchwD

    We bought and fit as much h2o, feminine hygiene products, tp, & blankets as we can into our car 2 bring. It’s just a smudge of the need pic.twitter.com/luUhfQchwD
  12. @txlibrarianbabs I’m in Katy, not in Houston proper. This where our friend lives & it also flooded. Chest deep on her husband. Rescued by boat.
  13. This is a box of Scholastic early beginning readers lost in the flood https://t.co/42vYcNHYZq

    This is a box of Scholastic early beginning readers lost in the flood pic.twitter.com/42vYcNHYZq
  14. People are out here in 95% heat emptying houses, pulling up carpet, and knocking down flooded walls https://t.co/IfMuy9eNHt

    People are out here in 95% heat emptying houses, pulling up carpet, and knocking down flooded walls pic.twitter.com/IfMuy9eNHt
  15. @txlibrarianbabs I’ll have to look up where Richmond is. I know a lot of surrounding areas were also badly affected. It’s devastating to see.
  16. Looking at the piles of waste everywhere, it’s hard to imagine where it will all go. This is an environmental disaster on so many levels.
  17. This woman teaches 3rd grade. Her classroom sets of books are ruined. https://t.co/a2xb7TknyV

    This woman teaches 3rd grade. Her classroom sets of books are ruined. pic.twitter.com/a2xb7TknyV
  18. She has been sleeping outside in her driveway in a cot because her house isn't safe. A church is now here helping her find housing. https://t.co/zSNLC486gf

    She has been sleeping outside in her driveway in a cot because her house isn’t safe. A church is now here helping her find housing. pic.twitter.com/zSNLC486gf
  19. These are her professional education books. Can you guys help me replace them and get her professional collection replaced? https://t.co/Ts1WRXvm9W

    These are her professional education books. Can you guys help me replace them and get her professional collection replaced? pic.twitter.com/Ts1WRXvm9W
  20. @BethanyRobison @DonorsChoose I am telling her about donors choose but she is not in a place yet to do this. She is crying and overwhelmed.
  21. A lot of Houston teachers are going to need help
    keep your eye on @DonorsChoose
    But it will prob. be a while until they can set up pages  https://twitter.com/TLT16/status/904815475804254208 …
  22. This woman washer is flooded, clothes flooded. So my friend is now doing her laundry. People are helping people.
  23. But this woman is older and lives alone and clean up is a big job. That’s where people will need help & it will take a long time.
  24. Already walls are starting to mold. They will have to be torn out. https://t.co/lGMAMnL8qz

    Already walls are starting to mold. They will have to be torn out. pic.twitter.com/lGMAMnL8qz
  25. @DiandraMae I just told her and sent her these links. Thank you.
  26. @g33f33 It was signed to her too. She said she got it at a conference because she has kids with anxiety. She really cares about her kids.

 

 

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