At the age where most would have still considered me a child myself, I loved watching Bill Cosby hosting the show Kids Say the Darndest Things. Nowadays I get it in real life. Summer co-workers: remember Peach Pit? And Biter (luckily not one of my own students)? A fellow assistant told me that one of her schools has a book in the teacher’s lounge of all the stupid and silly things their students say and do. I am dying to see that book!
I still find it hilarious that even my own students still have no idea where I am from. I’ve told them several times: I’m American, I’m from the United States. And yet when I ask I’ll get the most random of answers: Germany! Spain! Africa! (I’m sorry, what??) At least when they say England it makes some modicum of sense. Especially as their assistant last year was from there and it’s English speaking country at least.
I absolutely love when my kids draw me things, or write sentences for me in English (although they rarely make any sense). It is was very sweet, but I had to laugh though when a student gave me a very nice drawing of the British flag. I had seen her doing it in class, and wondered if it might be for me. At the end of class, she came up and gave it to me. I thanked her with a smile. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was the wrong flag, the wrong country, the wrong nationality. At least it was the flag of an English speaking country I guess!
However the next day I still had it in my notebook and several times other students saw it. “Did you draw that?” They asked. I laughed. “No, another student drew it for me,” then in a conspiratorial whisper I added “but she didn’t know it’s not actually the right flag. I need an American flag, not a British one!” Let’s see, maybe I’ll get some American flags next week!
However, despite how adorable (when they’re not driving me crazy) my students can be, I’ve come to realize another reason for why I would never survive as a full-time teacher. I teach for only 12 hours a week, and yet this is the third time this year I have lost my voice! This time it came upon me with absolutely no warning too! As I set up for my third class (of five – my longest day) on Friday one of my students came up and wrapped his arms around my legs as he has started doing every week. “Coucou Amory!” (This word has no direct translation but is a casual, friendly way of saying hello) he said. With a glance down and a small pat to his head I turned down to look at him and, opening my mouth to respond, was surprised when my answering “coucou” came out quite broken and hardly audible. I spent the rest of the class (and the two following classes) trying to recover my voice, without any luck. At one point, as the students were completing the worksheet I always give them at the end, I turned to the teacher and joked that I could never be a full-time teacher simply because I lose my voice so easily, and that’s only teaching for twelve hours a week!
It is an interesting mix of frustrating and rewarding, teaching. When I was younger I always imagined myself becoming a teacher when grown. As I grew and obtained more teaching experience I started to doubt that desire. Nowadays I’m not so sure. I go back and forth. Sometimes, such as after spending hours trying to lesson plan without success, or spending the day at my worst behaved school, I am certain that I would never survive as a teacher. I don’t have the patience or strength of character to do it full-time and alone. Other times, when a lesson goes especially well, when my students are especially sweet, or give me small drawings I wonder if maybe I should consider becoming a teacher after all.
Who knows. I’ve still got plenty of time to decide after all. And plenty of options I’m considering. Luckily, my schedule changed, and I now have fewer hours at my least favorite school. Meanwhile, I’ll make certain to enjoy my time at my good schools while there (one of my teachers gave me a Galette des Rois today, which is like the French version of a King Cake!). By the end of the year, I’ll probably have a whole collection of drawings and notes from all my students!