Wednesdays are hard, man. Even spelling the word is hard. (Am I the only person who still has to go “Wed-nes-day” in her head when writing that one out? Along with “def-in-ite-ly be-a-u-ti-ful.” Every time. And I’m 30. And teach English. Tee hees.)
But I had a particularly good one. As a teacher, it’s important to mark such momentous events as “a good Wednesday.” Especially when they happen in December, because something about the holidays makes kids really surprised that any learning might still occur between now and…say….March. By March, maybe they’ll be bored enough to learn again.
I’ve talked a lot on this blog about the adventure of living in Brazil – the beaches, the language, the people, the food, the bugs. But I am in fact here teaching at a pretty small international Christian school, as the English language developer (and self-appointed social coordinator). I assess all incoming students, figure out which ones need the most help learning English, and then pull them out of class a few times a week and through flashcards, stickers, and hugs, try to make them feel comfortable enough and smart enough to
spontaneously learn the world’s craziest language please Lord Jesus know that they can listen, speak, read, and write in English.
Here are some recent highlights of teaching and life:
My first little English learner “graduated” from my class so he doesn’t need pull-outs anymore. I spent 40 minutes designing him this really cool certificate, which he promptly decorated in orange highlighter, Mickey Mouse stickers, pictures of Baby Jesus in the manger (also in highlighter). When I took him back to his class (kinder) all his classmates clapped and hugged and kissed him. “Now you don’t have to miss ANYTHING we do! Your English is SO GOOD!”
- In Brasil, oral hygiene is very important. everyone brushes their teeth after every meal. I was walking to lunch when the preschool classes was marching out to the sinks with their wee Spiderman and Barbie toothbrushes in hand, and I high-fived a few and then said “make sure you brush really well and get rid of all the sugar bugs!” One girl stopped dead in her tracks and her jaw completely dropped, with a horrified look that read “I … have … BUGS in my mouth?!@#”Probably a poor choice of words on my part.
- The 5th grade teacher emailed me to say that for the first time this year, my ELD kid got an A on his spelling test AND said he had fun in my class. We’re getting somewhere. :)
Three staff members and two students came to my room to make sure I knew it was ice cream snack day. What does this say about me? I don’t know but I tried all three flavors.
- I found a wrapped chocolate bar in my bathroom. I’m not going to ask questions I’m just going to eat it.
- I showed a kid how to spell the days of the week, and at “Tuesday,” I think he thought I was joking. (“But Miss…it not is “Twosday?” It is second day.” I know, kid, I know.) When we got to “Wednesday,” he was looking at me like I was out of my mind. I think if he could have said “damn you, speakers of English,” he would have. In Portuguese, the days of the week are “second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, Saturday, Sunday,” because they have their priorities straight aka “no sense in coming up with names for these days – we’re just waiting for the weekend. Every week.”
My students are clearly working very hard in their technology class when I get this as a g-chat while on my lunch break: “dear miss i love you you are very cool you is my best teacher you iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee you eu te amo <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 beijosssssss”
- Playing sight word “Go Fish” with my ELD students, and I guess there is no Brazilian equivalent of this game, because it was brand new for them and a little hard to understand at first, but they loved it. The BEST part was when one got frustrated with the game and told me “NO HAVE THIS CARD! GO SHARK, MISS!” to up the ante. I’ve also found that one of my kids could probably sweep Vegas clean with his cheating skills. He destroys me in every game. He’s seven and can’t remember to zip his pants up. Destroys me.
- Taught the kiddos some adjectives, and they had to list people or things that corresponded with said adjectives. I was listed under “good,” “big,” and “funny,” along with ice cream (good), God (good and big), and baby pigs (funny).Not sure how I feel about “big.” But otherwise I’m cool with it. They also wanted to know what “stressed,” “struggling,” “embarrassed” were in English. Praying for my little babies. :(
- MC learned the word “beach” today. Sounds like a bad word every time she says it because of the accent. Lord, help me not to laugh.
- The preschooler who always brings weapons (last time was the hammer of Thor) brought a samurai sword today, tucked into his khakis. “For the ninjas!” he explained. I’m not sure that’s how it works, son….but okay.
On Wednesday morning, instead of our usual long professional development meetings, we got to go to Starbucks and get whatever we wanted as a reward for completing some quarter review thing that I didn’t even do because my job is weird! Amazing what a treat this is now that I a. don’t have a car b. it’s hot and walking a mile to get to a Starbucks makes me too sweaty to enjoy hot drinks c. I’m poor d. so I never spend money on designer coffee. You should have seen how a room full of teachers lit up like
the Fourth of July when we heard the news. I spent ten minutes deciding what to get and that Caramel Frappaccino was worth every bit of lactose-intolerant response that came afterwards. And it was really nice to spend some time with my friends, when I really should have been working on stuff. It felt a bit naughty, and therefore more fun.
And those are my happy feels for the week!
I want to remind myself and everyone else to love each other and make happy things happen. Life’s too short to have time for anything else.