What is it about teaching on a Wednesday? I can’t remember if they were as difficult when I was bartending or waiting tables…is it all M-F 9-5’s or is it every job? Is it just being alive? Wednesdays are like these demon days to get through before things start to feel a little more breathable. They certainly statistically hold the record for “day when I say the things I regret the most, usually to children who will never forget I said them.”
Students are crazy. They can’t remember to bring a pencil, paper, or to zip up their pants, but tell them ONE TIME under your breath while halfway out the door that you keep chocolate in the third drawer of your filing cabinet…
You don’t realize how difficult the concept of Bingo is to explain to someone who has never played it and doesn’t understand English…til you try. I succeeded in explaining “Go Fish” earlier this year, but one can only lose to a five year old so many times before I decide I need to be the bingo guy and change things up a bit. So we tried playing Alphabet Bingo in my kinder small group. But um.
Guess who cried – the kindergarteners or the 31 year old teacher? Guess who had to give comforting hugs at the end of the session? Guesswhich two humans exchanged bewildered glances and shoulder shrugs? The answer to all of those would be the kinder students. Miss Weight was probably rocking in a corner somewhere and reevaluating her career choices and entire life. Reaching into the third drawer of the filing cabinet for stray chocolate.
Probably my highlight today was teaching the fourth graders the meaning of the words “shy” and “timid.” I demonstrated by saying that Miss Weight feels timid when she has to go buy something in Portuguese, and despite months of training, says something like “milk. me. money. need? masculine thanks.” They were rolling out of their chairs, dying of laughter, begging for more. I got on a roll, imitating myself at every kind of store or restaurant I could think of. “Pois não?” they ask. “Pois…sim?!?” I respond. (this only is funny in Portuguese. JV was crying from laughing at me. But I wanted to cry when he said “Oh, Mith Waaaaaay….I take you to Mac-Donalls to help you buy your chickens. Or they going to know you are not brasilera and going to take all your moneys!”
When I get stressed out, I have limited coping skills here in Brazil. They include walking, eating, sleeping. Sometimes I combine them. And wake up with candy wrappers in bed.
I’ve been trying to explore more options. Sometimes I text my friends asking for pictures of their babies so I can remember that children are helpless creatures meant to be loved and nurtured, and not things trying to frustrate me on purpose to the point that I imagine how far I could throw them before it hurt my back.
Sometimes I soothe the frayed nerves by filling up online shopping carts with cheap toiletries from Target, food from Trader Joes or Whole Foods, clothes from Nordstroms, books from Amazon, browsing and sighing and filling out sizes and then finally clicking the window closed before I ever have to enter in information and be tempted to buy things. It’s oddly satisfying.
Sometimes I watch youtubes of goats on goats or puppies trying to befriend cats. I’ve become pretty involved in online baby goat culture.
But when all else fails, and I’m humble enough to reach out to friends for help, there are many beautiful ones I have made here. We live in so much intentional and can’t-get-away-if-you-try community…it’s pretty amazing to walk to work, walk home, walk to dinner, walk to grocery stores, walk to friend’s house, walk to beach, all together as a flowing and ebbing group, adult enough to come and go as we please (with limited judgment and teasing) and always loved and supported. Lots of potlucks.
It’s pretty amazing. 100% of the time, they get me every time.