3.3 Fall 2021

December 6, Early heartbreak

With the new and unpredictable threat of omicron, my plans have yet again been tossed like a salad. Will the temporary quarantine be extended? Will this stamp out deadlier strains? Will I get to travel again? Will Elon Musk shave that terrible thing off his head?

I can’t put all my hopes into one basket though I desperately want to think the end is near. Imagine, seeing my family! A weekend trip to Thailand! Running without a mask! People watching in cafes! Seeing the faces of my students!

I had sixth grade today and concluded, without the persuasion of 6-5, that I love my sixth graders so much and will desperately miss them when they graduate. Who will become sixth grade next year but the notorious fifth graders.

The sixth graders, barring 6-5, are funny and affectionate and silly and I wish I taught them more than once a week. One tall girl routinely shouts, “teacher, I love you!” every time she sees me in the hall.

The short haired girls of 6-3 are always enthusiastic about participating and their male counterparts are giggly and endearing. There is a self-dubbed Mr. Yogurt which has been our ongoing joke since last semester.

6-4 is quiet but has surprisingly good teamwork. I give them extra tidbits like how to say “what’s up” since their calmness lends us a few extra minutes each class.

6-6 is chaotic yet somehow also shy and the boys are always volunteering. The tallest is a girl kpop group expert. Their teacher is a tall handsome man who just got married and played with the kids so intensely last class that that he comically pushed one boy out of the way while racing to get a card.

6-1 is extremely loud and slightly less mature but there’s a trio that says “I love you!” Two boys and a girl wrote notes to me when they were assigned to write a letter to someone in their after school language arts class.

6-2 as you know is my favorite. The vibes are immaculate, as the teens say.

I want to write them all a letter and present it in our last class. “Thank you for your enthusiasm, remember that English is for communication, don’t get too bogged down in your high school studies, I hope you were able to make some good memories here, I love you and will miss you.”

Even though this job is not what people back home expected of me, even though this is not something I plan to do forever, at least in this exact configuration, I’m happy. I don’t dread Mondays. In fact, I look forward to seeing my kids.

Sometimes I even miss them.

(Except, perhaps, for 6-5.)

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