Even your least reliable friend is less fickle than a Kindie
I’ve already, in my two months teaching, come to realize that the last teacher is always the best teacher. And this is okay, because next round that will be me those demanding parcels of energy romanticize. They will, at some point after I’ve gone, forgotten all the work pages I’ve assigned and harsher than normal tones I’ve had to, out of necessity, adopt. And then…and then it will be me who feels sorry for my replacement, someone who is most likely trying their damndest to get the kids not only to listen without threat of punishment, but also to look forward to their eagerly plotted lessons.
It’s okay, it’s not like I blew the minds of these lil’ K-tots in my dreams or anything. Never once did I imagine that they would suddenly understand the complexity of the English dialect in an epic moment of introspection within which not even the likes of Oscar award winning “Inception” cinematographers could compete.
Maybe I’m shooting for the moon.
And that one of the first words I was privi’ed to in Korean was “Eong Deong Ee” (thanks be to my class of six year olds) meaning “butt”, has not dismayed me from my mission to instill these lude hooligans with the wisdom my hardship of a degree has come to bear. No, I gracefully avoiding the very concept of bullying in grade school and never questioned my will, identity or strength of resolve in university, but I’ll be damned if I find myself being bullied by a group of 5-6 year olds now. I almost even respect the veracity with which they try; taunting and openly calling me names in Korean, refusing to answer (or on occasion, even acknowledge) my questions and, most basically, insisting “NO” when my instructions run contrary to their will.
But when they run into me one on one and become the unrecognizably shy bundles of sensitive curiosity looking mostly at the ground but hesitantly upwards, searching for gratification, for approval—for my approval, the past 30 minutes of belligerence is discarded. The same kids who exclaim (repeatedly, because what’s the point in saying it once?) “I don’t like Sarah teacher” in fits of frustration, are the ones that are giving me their drawings, palms open and shoulders slanted, in a genuine display of vulnerability and eagerness. An anticipation for the “Wow! How beautiful, you drew this?”response towards the work which has been presented to me in a voice three decibels lower and softer than their average confident shrill tone. An action so deserving of tenderness that for what might be an entire minute, I’ll forget about the very notion of the time out sqare.