This morning when I lined up my students to go to gym class, one of the girls told me that she didn’t want to go because she doesn’t like lining up, and she was hungry. I told her we had to line up to go to class and that we could eat later, and that sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to. But what I was thinking was that I also absolutely hate lining up, and had actually been planning to eat an apple while the kids were in gym because I was also hungry. I think I’m supposed to be wiser than a kindergartener, but I’m not doing such a good job of following their rules.
Along with teaching English, my job is to teach kids how to behave in a group and how to follow directions, get along with one another, and adjust to being away from their homes. I’m not entirely sure that I’m an expert at any of those things…or that anyone is! My student Jenny hates playing with the loud boys, and I always sit by coworkers who are quiet on the bus home. My student Lena cried this morning because a boy hit her and so she wanted her mom; I felt sick yesterday afternoon and the only thing I really wanted to make me feel better was my own mom. Julian won’t eat his salad because he wants to eat cookies; I like salad pretty much, but I don’t always eat it when I have peanut butter cookies in my fridge. Little Kenza comes up to me at the end of every day and asks with pleading eyes, “Momma?” It’s her first year spending each day away from home for so long, and it’s difficult to adjust. This is my first year far away from home, and I don’t feel like I have it much easier than she does.
The lessons we learned in Kindergarten will certainly apply for the rest of our lives. At twenty-two, I still struggle with being away from home and doing the things I should do before doing the things I just want to do. In fact, I’m thinking of applying my own teacher techniques to my daily life. Next time I want my mom, maybe I’ll distract myself by drawing a picture. Or maybe next time I want to check Facebook or bake cookies more than I want to go to work, I’ll give myself a time-out. And you can bet I’ll be giving myself a sticker after I’ve finished this blog post.