Sunday, August 03, 2008

Keeping Me Up At Night

This was the last weekend for all our programs. We have two whole weeks before the next groups arrive. So you might think I can finally relax.

You might.

But you'd be wrong.

The departures were a little crazier than usual. That's bound to happen when 80some internationals with varying degrees of English comprehension are all flying out of one small airport. I could tell stories of attempts to take six (6!) bags as carry-ons, wheelchair fiascoes, missed flights, and security showdowns. But that's not why I can't sleep.

One of my students has gone AWOL.

Despite working with hundreds of students from so many different nationalities, this is the first time I've dealt with this issue and processed it from an administrator-ish point of view. I feel frustrated, shocked, disappointed, confused, sympathetic, as well as a little taken-advantage-of. Most of the students I work with come to us to learn English and study America's approach to social justice. They are grateful for the experience and excited to go back home and share what they've learned. Their program is paid for as part of a prestigious grant given to students who must first prove that they are committed to improving their communities. They tend to be indigenous, highly principled, older, and married with children. In other words - not flight risks. It is very rare for students from this program to have their visa denied.

I can't help but think of all the possible repercussions of this action. Trust me, the very last thing I want to be doing right now is obsessively thinking about anything work-related. But this is about people, about human relations, not work. I can only hope it is a temporary error in judgment, a stupid and impulsive decision. The one thing I can't seem to do is stop thinking about it.


carolyn says said...

yikes! does anyone have any ideas where this student may have gone or even what might happen to him/her if found?

Alannah said...

He just emailed me back. With no information...just a "sorry, I'm traveling with friends" message that didn't really answer anything.

The plot thickens!

Steph said...

At least it sounds like he is okay. Your job really is like being a Mother to all these visitors, all the way to the heart.

When will his visa expire? Maybe he just wants to get all he can out the time he's got. It's just too bad he can't be up front about it.

michelle said...

Can't the ISP # be tracked from where he sent his email? The whole situation would keep me up at night, too! My gosh.

5 of 9er said...

Wow... I can't say I ever lost a student.

Alannah said...

Michelle - yes, that is one of the first things we did...we were able to pretty much figure out where he is.

He has until Monday...

michelle said...

Oh my gosh! I'd have chewed my fingernails down to nothing by now if I were you!