I'm in love with the kids I teach.
It finally dawned on me how much these kids really mean to me. As soon as I set foot in the classroom today, I'm bombarded: my favorite elementary school student, Judy, comes up to me, hold my hands together as if I'm her older sister or her mother, looks straight into my eyes, and smiles--another student, Gloria, standing next to us and drawing pretty girls on the the whiteboard, suddenly turns to us and says "Gayyy--eeemmm teacher!" I return the smile and say in Konglish, "Chelsea ssem will see. Oh-buun chuseo!" (Chelsea teacher will see. Give me five minutes!) Thereafter springing to the teacher's room to snag a few minutes of the ever-intense book I'm currently reading, "The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown. Of course, if I wasn't so enthralled in the book, I would have stayed with the girls and started class early---but I kept thinking of that intense conflict the character, Harvard symbologist, Langdon was having with a French cryptologist, Neveu, mid-escape from the French police, searching for clues the cryptologist's grandfather and now-dead curator of the Louvre left before his ultimate death. Fascinating, and very hard to put down.
Just last week, I recieved a little origami sort of paper art from another great and helpful student, Laura, who wrote on the back of the hexagonal gift, "I love you teacher ~ Laura." I gushed to no end. Recently, another little elementary student, Mary, who's rather new... wrote me a two-page mini note introducing herself and her brother, giving me not only a little girl's hot pink and baby blue eyeshadow kit, which she wrapped in pretty anime paper, but she also included a plastic, lego-like heart fused together with wax. I was bewildered and fascinated all in the same step.
These kids are amazing. They hug me both before and after class, we joke together and laugh at the funniest things; and now, they're thinking of me outside of school, and bringing little miscellaneous gifts I absolutely adore!
And to top this all off, I just about fell over with my GPR+ (middle school) students today. The lesson was to build vocabulary, focusing on the house in general, discussing what we use in the house, what floors have which rooms, etc. I only see these kids but an hour a week, so during this winter vacation, my lessons have to wrap up in just about one hour, or as you can imagine, the following week rolls around and these kids have forgotten all but a handful of the entire lesson of the prior week!
When I inquired of the 4, some 14-15 year old male students specific questions to test their English knowledge about housewares and vocabulary, I nearly lost it. We started with the bathroom, and I first asked them what you call the thing coming out of the wall in the shower/bathtub, that gets you wet, when you turn the faucet/water on. Can you guess their response? They have a limited but reasonable amount of vocabulary by the time they hit middle school. Any clues? You'll just die...shower machine! Yes, a new, ingenious name for the shower head! Here's a few more for laughs I came across for accessories and things in the bathroom:
1. What's the cloth or carpet that lays flat on the floor in the bathroom, and you use it to step on when you get out of the bathtub or shower?
- foot clothes or
- water towel to drink up the water leaving bath (bath mats or bath/tub/sink rugs)
2. What is the bowl-like thing that has a faucet (where water comes from), which sits just below the mirror in the bathroom, and where you brush your teeth, wash your face, etc.?
- face shower or hands washer (the bathroom sink)
3. What do you call the chair you sit on in the bathroom, you know, where you sit down, go pee, and read a magazine or newspaper?
- bathroom chair (the toilet) ~ my favorite!
And so it is, each day gets more and more fulfilling. I'm walking with a spring in my step, in spite of the still-hectic school schedule--but luckily that will all change, now that we've hired an Australian girl named Melanie to work with us starting mid-February. Boy won't that be a huge weight lifted off my shoulders! Now all I have to work on is getting my groove back with traveling, and I'll be set!
Gleefully writing away,