“Teacher ‘Sas’, you go on airplane, all B1 kids is so sad!” This came from one of my favorite little students upon my return to work after Chinese New Year. What a great way to start the new semester!
This past half year of work has been crazy with regard to teaching hours and class sizes and admin work and, well, all of it. I teach two half-day kindergarten classes five days a week; one is what we would typically consider kindergarten level in the states, and the other is more like first-grade level. I also teach an evening ESL/Science class of third graders three days a week, and an upper level ESL course the other nights. I also teach Sunday School at church for a month at a time here and there. There are days when I never want to see another child again, but mostly I go to work eager to see their little faces and ready to hear and see the hilarious funnies they drop each day. Some of my favorites…
A child was sitting outside the classroom pouting, so my coworker asked whether he was in trouble with his Chinese teacher. From inside the room five-year-old Ethan yells, “Teacher Sally doesn’t want to see his face!” Perfect elocution, kid.
Ethans in Taiwan clearly have speaking skills, or maybe just impeccable timing. As my class was doing homework corrections one evening, third grade Ethan called me over to check his work. After I told him it was fine and to read his storybook, the cheeky eight-year old goes, “OK. Thanks, babe.” I tried my hardest to keep a straight face but sometimes I just have to laugh, and now the whole class thinks it’s funny to drop a “babe” at the end of their sentences.
While teaching a Sunday School lesson on David returning the ark to Jerusalem.
Me, holding up a picture clearly depicting David dancing before the ark: Guys, what is David doing in this picture?
Kids: Running away from the ark because he didn’t want to drop dead like Uzzah! Drinking! Why is he just wearing underwear?
Me: Well, actually, David is dancing and worshipping God because he was so happy that the ark was finally back in Jerusalem. Could you imagine if the president did that today?
Kid: Trump is a grouch!
My 4 year old class began learning to write the ABCs this semester. Last year, while teaching them letter recognition and phonics, we also learned how to trace each letter’s shape – first in the air, and later on writing sheets. They have no trouble forming the letters now, but writing on grid lines is proving to be a bit of a struggle. They’re all very familiar with me yelling that their ABCs can’t fly around the paper, that each letter must “sit” on the line. Last week we played a demo game on the whiteboard and when the first student filled in his letter it was, predictably, sailing way over the line I’d drawn. Little Jeremy, who has the same problem when he writes, shouted out, “Letter is flying! “C” want to sit down!” And then, for good measure, “Letters are no birds!”
My 5-6 year old class learned a certain four letter word thanks to someone’s older brother, and despite laying down the law I’m still dealing with scattered instances of profanity from an entire class laboring under the delusion that “saying a bad word with my hands” is not as inappropriate as saying one with their precocious little mouths. Still, the tide is clearly turning, however slowly. Thomas came up to my desk and whispered, “I wrote the wrong letter, so I said ‘$#!%’ quietly!” He seemed both proud of his discretion and smug that he’d worked a bad word into his school day, and all I could do was laugh.
In the same class, we were discussing careers. My kids want to be everything from practical jobs (butcher, doctor, astronaut, teacher) to those of the keep dreaming variety (princess, Spiderman). I thought I’d heard everything a child could ever hope to be, until Robert announced, “I will be an ISIS when I grow up.” Scraping my jaw of the floor, I asked for details, and it became clear that Robert was actually thinking of a career with SWAT or a similar unit of “good guys, not bad people.” Whew.
My young class were reading a book on weather that introduced a few new words. I knew I had properly explained lightning when Winmer said, “If that lightning hit you, you all face be so black!”
In third grade ESL I broke up a scuffle between two of my former kindergarten students and another kid. James and Ethan are thick as thieves and I know them quite well, but sometimes their shenanigans still surprise me. It turned out that Ethan and the other boy were fighting over an eraser on the floor. “And you?” I asked James. “I’m just helping Ethan hit Kola!” said the face of innocence.
And here are a few photos of my two kindergarten classes, just because I spend hours upon hours with these kiddos, and they’re pretty awesome.