Little Gifts

1) Realizing that I have 14 kids in my after school class who have been candyless for far too long (actually, I haven’t given them any candy at all this year so far), counting the number of Twix I have left in my candy bag at my desk, and finding exactly 14 remaining – no more, no less. Perfect.

2) This conversation:

15-year-old: “Teacher, lens?” (After some gesturing, I realized he was asking if I wear circle lenses – popular among girls here to make their eyes look bigger or a different color.)

Me: “No, no.”

Him: “Wow. Beautiful eyes.”

3) And this one:

14-year-old (as I set up the computer before class started): “Teacher, beautiful.”

Boy #2: “Teacher, really beautiful.”

I’m writing this one down, although I’ve already written about this type of comment multiple times on my blog before, because the way these two kids said it was different. It wasn’t an “I’m a hormonal teenage boy and I think it’s hilarious to flirt with the teacher” type of comment; they said it really sweetly, almost with the tone and expression that my girls would use when they compliment me. Less of an “I’m saying this to be funny and get a reaction” vibe and more of a sincere compliment. I can’t explain it well in words, but it was very sweet.

4) This interjection during class:

Mischief-making 14-year-old boy: *slamming things on the desk, dropping stuff on the ground*

Boy #2: “Teacher, so noisy! Noisy, noisy!” (sticking his fingers in both ears) “Oh my God! Noisy!”

Co-teacher: “Noise pollution!”

I love that she taught them that term. Awesome.

(Also, this boy is seriously always in trouble. He used to be in my B level, and he was constantly in trouble there for talking and being disruptive and had to go to the back of the room and talk with my co-teacher while I taught the rest of the class. Now he’s in my C level because his English grades dropped after the midterm test, and he is still always looking for ways to stir things up.

Today it was creating pretend smoke rings out of tape and puffing them out of his mouth like a smoker, prompting cries of “Teacher! Smoking!” from his classmates. Then he stuck said tape rings to his eyes and made goofy faces. Later, my co-teacher told me he was also caught hanging out of the 2nd floor window this morning. Yes, that’s right, he climbed out the window and was dangling from the ledge two floors up. Heaven help us. He’s impishly cute, though, and I think he knows it and is therefore never properly sorry for his misdeeds.)

(Additionally, I was touched when my co-teacher told me that normally that particular class of low levels is extremely disruptive and won’t make an effort whatsoever, but they were pretty much on their best behavior for me. Even the window climber was pretty mild. It’s sweet that they’re actually still excited to see me.)

5) Feeling rushed during lunch, as usual (I always have class directly after lunch, so I always feel the subconscious urge to hurry up and get back to my desk and prep for class) – and then remembering with an enormous wave of sweet relief that today is emergency/disaster drill day and the students will be otherwise engaged for 2 solid hours after lunch. Meaning I essentially have a 3 hour lunch break.

These are the small things that ground me in the midst of a storm of stress… the things that lift me when I’m in danger of swirling down into discouragement and overwhelm… the things that remind me that life is beautiful.

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