Kenshi smiled up at me with a smile that infected me with a grin of my own. The "presento" was a crayon drawing of his English teacher...me. The fellow was standing jauntily near a tree, gigantic multicoloured ice-cream cone clenched in one three fingered hand. He was smiling even though his head was twice the size of his body.

There is something about teaching children that you can never experience when teaching adults. A sense of wonder. Laughter at strange times. Honesty and logic that is both enlightening and downright frightening. Also lots of daydreaming.

Kenshu seemed a little disappointed that his brother beat him to the "presento" giving. Another picture of me, this time I was wearing a multicoloured kimono and eating an even larger ice-cream. I had also evidently decided to go barefoot that day, which seemed nice as I was standing in lush crayola grass.

Kids see the world as an image and do not think in words. Words can be a prison, adults the prisoners.

The boys' mother smiled at me and mouth the word "toilet" when Kenshu started grabbing his trousers and squirming in his chair. I quickly nodded and watched mother and son sprint to the bathroom. Kenshu's brother covered his mouth and pantomimed a wicked laugh.

Several English instructors I have talked to here have told me they hate teaching kids. I listen patiently to horror stories of kids attacking each other, pulling teachers clothing off, throwing things or each other at the instructor. So far I have avoided the chaos that flows around children. I have managed to see through it, even when little hands made a grab from my zipper or when a boy pushed his mother out of her chair, dropping her on the floor like a broken toy. Yes I see it and yes it can be hard. It always is and always will be. But when a little boy hands you a drawing of yourself or a teenage girl shoots you a brief smile that had to find it's way out of the layer of "cool" to get to you...it makes you remember what its like...lets you forgive...to breathe and to heal.
To those who will never read this, Thank you.


At 9:49 PM, Blogger neonvirus.com said...

I tried to comment on this earlyer, but comments were broken.

anyway, i feel the same way... sometimes its hard to teach kids, but i really like it, in the end, its really fun, the funnest thing is you can be a kid too and thats what i am! :) (yes i know you know)

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Nymeria said...

Nick and Lisa and I think that teaching is great (especially Lisa). Did you know that Portland has a Japanese Immersion program in their schools. They always need help with tudors. Plus, since Portland has so many businesses related to Japan they always need help with people who speak Japanese.


Post a Comment

<< Home