Sunday, December 4, 2011

Teaching Abroad

       Children. In all their nose-picking and tear-filled screaming, I have found a strange love for them. Monsters. They can change my, "what is wrong with these strangely small people," to "how are you so freaking cute?" Daily, I ask myself, "Self, why are you a teacher? Why do you surround yourself with these ignorant midgets?" And then little Peter, Grace, or even Dolphin (yes, that is his English name) remind me.

"No, No, No. No touching!" Dolphin says to me while pointing to the scissors on my desk. Yes, very good. Now, if I can only get him to express his own thoughts in English and not just repeat me like a parrot. But he's come along way since the first week of school, when everyday was characterized by screaming tears and throwing up his morning milk. Dolphin has perhaps become my favorite student.
When he points to something and says, "This is blue." Something alights inside me and I feel a sense of worth as a teacher. I am somehow shaping these beings into English speaking, well-mannered, and color naming people. And this is why I teach. At the end of my day (yes, noon. Sorry 9-5ers), when I'm tucking these little Chinese angels into their naptime beds, I feel this strange feeling I've never felt before. And the only word I can think to describe it is maternal. I still don't want children, but don't feel completely freaked out by the idea. I enjoy wiping their snot ridden faces and even reminding them to wash their hands. I like shoveling food into their mouths and especially love tucking them in like a bug in a rug and wishing them sweet dreams before they doze off. But at the end of the day, I still get to come home to my child-free apartment where the only person I'm responsible for is myself. But when I took my vacation, I still find myself wondering about them. Is my fill-in teacher taking care of them like I do? Is she wiping away their tears and then doing something silly to make them smile? Is she helping them eat, or just yelling at them for eating slowly like their Chinese teacher? Is she tucking them before naptime or just pointing them to their bed and telling them to "Lie down!" And most importantly, is she getting as grossed out as I do when they bring her boogers?
                              Nonetheless, being a teacher has changed me.