As mentioned in some of my latest articles, I briefly said that I was working as a teacher in China.
WAIT! Don’t panic, I’m not raising the next spawns of evil here or corrupting them into becoming perfect little dictator puppets to assert my own world domination. I just teach them English Coughing* And how to manipulate public opinion*Coughing . “What did you just say?” Me, nothing. Moving on to the kids teaching. What kind of kids would you ask? And in what world would anyone hire an inexperienced, non certified teacher for kids? Beijing does. Beijing is desperate to teach their next generation of kids how to speak English. So they hire anyone that speaks it more or less correctly to teach to very young kids (2 or 3 years old) and as they get older, they want better teachers to give refined English lessons. That doesn’t mean teaching Shakespeare, unfortunately, it means proper use of vocabulary, sound tones, accents, clear and natural sentences and your occasional grammar basics.
In one of my posts, I told you how busy I am. Teaching, Marketing, Training. This is only about my experience teaching kids. First off, my full time gig as a teacher is with a group of 25 kids that are 3 years old… Nope, it was not a mistype, it’s indeed 25 kids… I teach them from 8h to 17h with a 2h30 break in the middle. Because at that age, they need a nap and so do the teacher assistants.
To be frantic, the TAs (teacher assistants) are young enough that sometimes I feel like I have 28 kids. Now how does that work out for me, being a teacher with such young kids. Full disclosure, me and kids… never knew much about them, always had a hard time connecting with them and I quite simply always felt awkward with them. It’s not that I don’t like them… I just don’t know what to do with them. Are some of my friends surprised by that? (Thinking of those with kids here for obvious reasons). I was always afraid of breaking them, dropping them, hearing them cry, see them puke and so on. I wanted to be friendlier with them, more natural, but seriously, never felt like I was. I have a good friend of mine (Nick, I’m talking about you here). This guy is stupidly natural with kids. Kids love him, he plays with them so easily and it looks like the easiest thing in the world. As for me, in front of a kid staring at me with those big googly eyes waiting for something to happen or to get the f*ck out because I’m boring, I was never so sure. But here I am, teaching these 3 years old…
First things first, my opinion changed. These mini adults are not as bad as I thought. Heck, they are insanely easy to understand after a while. There’s no grey zone with them. It’s black or white. Easy to manage.
And as their teacher (I go by the name Teacher Big Dragon or some of them started calling me DaLong ShuShu which means very affectionately Uncle Big Dragon), I don’t mind the crying. Sometimes they just come up to me, crying and I just pick them up. They need someone to comfort them. When I teach them English they listen. I try to have fun, so do they. When they don’t listen, I act with authority and am strict with my rules. (Black or white guy here too) They get it. Heck, if you are clear with them, they even respect you and love you. Not an expert here as I will never EVER call myself a teacher. But I get a first class experience of what it means to teach kids, how hard it can be and how little we remember about teachers once we grow up. Not our university teachers people. The ones you don’t always remember because you are too young. And yet, they give their all to help when you are so young. My teacher assistants are of those. I don’t feel I do much to be frantic. I get the sweet role here. But they work hard, they clean, calm down and run after some kids while dealing with my schedule and teaching classes.
Do you get attached? Well, unfortunately, you kinda do. You also have your favorites in the class too. You try not too, but you have a soft spot for some. It doesn’t mean you are nicer to them. Sometimes you are stricter, because you want them to do better. In the very little time I started teaching, I already had so many experiences with these kids. Some are crying because of their parent’s absence. Not because they are currently at the kindergarten, it’s even when they are home. A lot are raised by aunts or grandparents. They are alone. I met even a mother that quite frankly said to me that her kid acts like a spoiled brat… For heaven’s sake I almost slapped her right there. After she told me that, I said the following to her: “If ever I have a kid one day, I would like mine to be exactly like yours. Because he’s smart beyond what you might think and he never acts without a reason.”
And I wasn’t lying or being mean. I’m not blind either. He’s a troubled (was actually) kid in my class. Hitting other kids, biting, not listening.
But teaching these kids brought me to do something that I always wanted to do, but never really dared to do it. I decided to write to my teacher from when I was in 4th year primary School. Since there’s no actual way of knowing if kids remember you later in life besides actually hearing back from them, I decided that I wanted to do at least this and thank her for how much she inspired a younger Dragos to dream and do more.
Today’s item on the list :
- Write to my teacher from primary school to finally thank her.
If you like the blog, support it to keep it going.