Friday, October 16, 2009

Kids Are Weird

I mean, that's sort of a given. But I forget. Sometimes I let myself get distracted by my students—Jane Goodall among the chimpanzees sort of thing.

Yesterday, I had my most rambunctious student. I've mentioned him before, he's the one we call PM. He had left the classroom to take a call from his mother right before class, and pranced back inside. He gave the door a good solid slam to announce his entrance as theatrically as possible.

Unfortunately, another student happened to be in the way. June, a tiny little thing whose backpack is nearly as big as he is, got a door handle right in the face. So naturally, he started crying.

And immediately students descended upon him: PM and two of the girls crowded him and asked if he was okay. For a while he stood sniffling, unable to talk, while his friends just hovered. PM squatted down to June's level and put his hands on his shoulders, face full of fraternal concern.

June is a bit dumb, but very cute, and by far the smallest in his class. I think he may be a year younger than everyone else there. The collective opinion seems to be that June is fun to play with and to sometimes tease, but you don't actually hurt him or yell at him because he's just too adorable. To see PM—usually a hyperactive, ADD, attention-whoring mess—slow down and show a surprisingly mature amount of concern and regret was quite endearing. Since I didn't know what else to do, I let the scene play out and just watched the kids in their natural state, without a teacher hanging around telling them what to do.

One of the girls broke away from June and asked, "Mina-teacher?" As in, "Should I go get Mina-teacher?" I shook my head; PM hadn't meant to give June a faceful of doorknob and didn't really need scolding.

"June fighting," I said in my best Konglish accents, fists raised. A small giggle rippled through the classroom. June sniffled a bit more, wiped his eyes, and sat back down. Five minutes later he was back to his old self.

Kids are weird. They're also pretty tough.

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