I spoke too soon. I was just bragging about how fantastic my three-year-old is and today she didn’t want to be in the same room as me. It’s very difficult to teach a “class” consisting of one three year old. Most English classes for kids anywhere close to that age rely on games and the kids interacting with each other as much as the teacher. For the past few weeks since the class started it’s been just me and Maria. I guess I was really lucky up until today that she was entertained by the games I managed to come up with for one person. But today was the the last straw. I think she was probably woken up from a nice siesta to come to class because she was tired, cranky, and clinging to her mom from the moment they walked in the door. We finally detached her from her mom’s hip and appeased her by joining the class next door where her older sister was.
Unfortunately this wasn’t my first crier either. There’s a boy in my 5-6 year old class, Angel, who has been getting progressively worse. It started one day when his mom was about five minutes late to pick him up. All the other kids had gone and it was just him. He and I were still playing a vocabulary game, having fun (or so I thought), when he burst into tears because he thought no one was coming for him. Another teacher and I of course immediately began soothing him, assuring him that she would be there any minute, and telling him that everything was okay. My hypothesis is that this gave him a taste for the attention one receives when throwing a tantrum, because in every class since then he has started crying in the middle of the class saying his head hurts, his arm hurts, his whole body hurts. We’re talking huge crocodile tears and pitiful wails. Normally when kids do this, if you ignore them and continue like normal they will stop, but not this one, and to make it worse he completely disturbs the other kids in the class to the point that they stop everything they’re doing. I have to stop class, take him out of the classroom, get him a glass of water, or turn him over to his mom, who gives him a lecture, tells him to shut up, and sends him back in. He’ll come back in, still sniffling, sit down, and start all over again, to which the other kids exclaim, “¡Otra vez!”
So the little ones have been an adventure lately, to say the least. I have Angel’s class again tomorrow evening, so we’ll see how that goes. I can’t help feeling that I’m the problem because there’s so much of this happening to me, but my director insists that these kids have developed an allergy to English, not to me. I’ll take the other smiling faces in my classes as proof that he’s right, because my self-esteem needs the boost.
At least things are going well in the day job. I have a class of 6th graders that I get to do a lesson with once a week. It’s a nice change because they’re several years older than the rest of my students, and it’s also fun because the teacher allows me to completely write my own lessons and do whatever I want. Today we did a lesson on typical American food. Everyone wanted pancakes by the end of the class, but I don’t think I sold them on the idea of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
On a completely unrelated note, my flatmate and I finally got gym memberships today, so that should make running much more convenient. There aren’t very many places to run outdoors here, and there just aren’t many people who do it. Five and a half kilometers today!