4.1 Spring 2022,  Uncategorized

April 1, No fools

My body and I have been struggling through the week but the kids are alright.

Two boys in fifth grade started to physically fight each other and I had to raise my voice for real. Is this what parenting is? I felt a shiver of dread: if I can’t keep two boys from for fighting for forty minutes, would I even be a good parent?

Luckily, it was nothing serious: one boy who has some trouble already got upset at his teammate, another boy who doesn’t participate well. The first boy started cursing under his breath and then moved on to hitting him in the head.

“Hey! Sit down.“

The class was silent save for the first boy whining.

“I said, sit down.” My voice boomed and I started at him until he flopped, still whining, in his seat.

The other kids started scolding them and after class Olivia said, “their behavior… not good. I’m sorry.”

“Thank you but you don’t have to apologize.”

I waited for their homeroom teacher who had been absent and then reappeared to start the next period. I waited for a break in the conversation around him to let him know.

But it turns out half the class had already swarmed him as soon as he got in and reported the fight.

Good job, kids!

I later saw the homeroom teacher in the hallway one on one with the whiny boy.

In class after the incident I had returned back to our activity, ignoring the troublemakers and lettting the well-behaved kids continue to have fun.

I also learned, again, not to let kids make their own teams. There are still mistakes to be made…

Despite the fights and poor planning on my part, I was happy to see my wild sixth graders. The girls happily chattered at me in the bathroom and when I’m passing classes on the stairs even the most obnoxious of kids throw some English at me.

“Bye teacher,” they giggle, because this is the highest form of inverted humor they can manage.

“Why are you tall?” Kid! And the fifth grader who always happily shouts “hi Abigail teacher!” And a few other terribly cute boys who I couldn’t place but are probably fourth grade.

As I was leaving for the day, more tired than I expected, a crew of taekwondo boys flagged me down. There was my fifth grader, a few wide eyed fourth graders, and the tiny boy who last week asked why I was so tall.

I asked the boys to show me all their sweet kicks. One by one they kicked high into the air; very impressive flexibility for boys. The “oldest man in school”, one of the admin staff who I ate noodles with last summer and always greets me, walked out of the school and into witnessing this. I could hear his chuckle behind me.

A few more teachers came out later and we paused our taekwondo show to say goodbye together.

While pulling on my sleeve and grabbing my hand, the young boy kept telling me in Korean that I was really good at English

I sure hope so!

The extroverted fifth grader jumped in and used our learned sentences to talk in English. He started to sing one of our songs and then said, “teacher, I like English time”.

Friends, this is all I want! If my students feel comfortable with me and excited to practice English outside of class, I’m ecstatic.

He and I were cut off by the small boy who started rapping while the other boys looked on in embarrassment.

I could feel the relationship I’ve made with my kids over a hard earned year. There’s a beautiful advantage to being a subject teacher in this regard. And I can’t wait to be close to my new fourth graders, too.

What a great job.

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