Happy Chuseok!

Has it really been a week since my last post? Time flies. Even if you’re not having fun, seemingly.

Not that this week hasn’t had its fun moments. But all in all, I am quite ready to embrace my 4-day holiday weekend thanks to 추석 (Chuseok, the Korean holiday similar to American Thanksgiving). Chuseok itself falls on a Sunday this year, but the government has graciously extended the holiday through Monday and Tuesday so everyone can have some time off of work.

Essentially, Chuseok is a harvest festival celebrated in fall; the date changes depending on the full moon and the lunar calendar (that is a very unscientific explanation… you can look it up if you’re interested). On Chuseok, Korean families come together and hold a memorial ceremony. A vast amount of traditional food (notably including songpyeon, a chewy rice cake with a sweet filling) is prepared and arranged on a table, and then the family members bow to show respect to their ancestors in a ceremony called 제사 (Jesa). Afterwards, they eat the food together. This is followed sometimes by visiting family members’ graves, sometimes by drinking alcohol, sometimes by playing traditional games like 윷놀이 (Yutnori), and sometimes by going out to a park or hiking spot. Or sometimes all of the above.

I’m no expert on Chuseok, but one of my co-teachers (the awesome one) generously invited me to visit her house today to observe the ceremony and join her family for the big meal. I’m so thankful that she gave me the opportunity to experience Chuseok almost as if I were part of a Korean family.

So, today I arrived at her family’s apartment bright and early at 9 a.m.

I was ushered in warmly by my co-teacher and her husband and greeted by her two kids, one girl and one boy, who are very shy but very cute. She had told me the other day, “I’ll make my children wear hanbok.” Haha. So they were indeed wearing hanbok, but my co-teacher and her hubby were dressed quite casually. I believe this varies depending on the family, as some dress up in suits and dresses, others wear hanbok, and others are a bit more laidback in their dress.

Their apartment was lovely and spacious (I personally was particularly envious of their huge front windows that let in oodles of natural sunlight). The kitchen counters were a comfortingly messy hodgepodge of kimchi, pots, plates, and cooking utensils.

In the main room, my co-teacher had set up the memorial table with all the required traditional foods, including specific fruits like apples and persimmons, dried fish, bulgogi (sweet beef), chestnuts, fried fish cakes, and the rice cakes called songpyeon. At the back are the two candles and the 신위 (shinwui), the memorial tablet with the names of the deceased ancestors. (I’ve read that jesa typically honors no farther back than grandparents, which in this case would be my co-teacher’s parents-in-law’s grandparents I believe.) In front of the table is a teapot of hot water, a bowl filled with sand, and incense used for the ceremony.

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So pretty!

Shortly after my arrival, my co-teacher’s parents-in-law and brother-in-law arrived and the jesa ceremony began. It was less solemn than I expected in that my co-teacher and her mother-in-law continued to talk and prepare food in the kitchen area while the men and children performed the ceremony just a few feet away in the living area. I sat on a chair and watched, trying to walk the narrow line between genuine interest and weird staring.

Don’t hold me to an exact understanding of all the details of the ceremony, but from what I observed, there is a very meticulous set of steps. First of all, the front door to the apartment was open the whole time, apparently to allow the ancestors’ spirits to enter (every door I passed by in the apartment building was open).

My CT’s father-in-law began by kneeling in front of the table, with the candles and incense lit. His son poured the hot water (or maybe it was alcohol?) into one of the wooden cups, and the father-in-law circled it three times around the incense before pouring it into the sand in the bowl. Everyone did a traditional bow (meaning kneeling on the floor, placing both hands out in front, then touching the head down to the hands). This process was repeated multiple times, occasionally switching who was doing the circling around the incense and who was pouring. I know that each step has its own significance, so you can read more about that here if you like.

Eventually the candles were extinguished by my CT’s son, signifying the end of the ceremony. The whole thing only took about 20 minutes, maybe less. I know some families can take 1 or 2 hours, so perhaps my CT’s family only observes the bare essentials of the ceremony whereas others go in more depth. (I’ve read that there is a part where the family is supposed to exit the room to allow the ancestors to eat, and then return – a bit reminiscent of inviting Elijah the Prophet to the Jewish Seder, right? But anyway, my CT’s family did not do this.)

In spite of the incense and the bowing, for most families there is no religious significance behind this. It is not worshiping their ancestors. In fact, interestingly, it seems that most Koreans who are atheist/agnostic, Buddhist, or Catholic perform jesa (Pope Pius XII lifted the ban on ancestral rites in the 1930s, allowing Catholics to participate in this type of ceremony), while most Korean Christians/Protestants do not.

Anyway, after the ceremony, the rest of the food was quickly brought over to the table, which was transformed into a dining table. We sat on the floor around it and ate all the foods I mentioned above plus more, including a delicious traditional beef soup called 육개장 (yukgaejang), made by my CT’s mother-in-law. (Who was delighted that I found it tasty.)

They were all very kind and welcoming, treating me like part of the family. The in-laws couldn’t speak English, but showed a quiet hospitality anyway. They departed around 11 a.m. because they were tired, and my CT then suggested going to her own parents’ home in the apartment building across the street.

The atmosphere when we entered the apartment reminded me of my own family’s holidays – noisy and active and high-spirited. They couldn’t top my family’s decibel level, of course, but that would be hard to do. My CT’s mom was a tiny ball of energy just like her daughter, and welcomed me in – “Hello! Hello! Ssit down!” (I spelled that with a double ‘s’ but actually it sounds more like ‘sh*t down’, a common Korean pronunciation error. So cute.) She can’t speak much English but is very eager to do so. “Fruit? Coppee?” (coffee)

So we sat together – my CT’s parents, her uncle and aunt-in-law, two cousins, her brother, and her 5-year-old nephew – and drank coffee and ate fruit. Again, I felt welcome and accepted like part of the family.

They wanted to go to a park or something, and they decided on Mt. Apsan, the mountain which overlooks the entire city of Daegu. We piled into two cars and drove there, then walked up to the Buddhist temple in the mountain. My CT’s parents are practicing Buddhists, so they entered the temple to bow many times. My CT is more of a casual practitioner, it seems, so she went in to bow also but doesn’t do so often. Her husband is not a follower of Buddhism, so he stayed outside with me. I appreciated the fact that while there was an open invitation to go in and participate, there was also zero pressure to do so.

Then we rode the cable car up to the peak and drank 막걸리 (makgeolli, rice wine which is always consumed out of golden metal bowls rather than cups) and ate 파전 (pajeon, the pancake made with green onions) at a small restaurant there. We took pictures on the observatory deck, and then eventually made our way back down.

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View from the top

20150927_134548At this point it was 2 p.m., and my CT observed that I must be tired and offered to drop me off at home on their way back. Her mom apparently wanted to continue on to another park, and while I truly enjoyed their kindness and warmth, I was also a bit exhausted and accepted the offer of being dropped off at home. She didn’t let me go home empty-handed – her Chuseok gift for me was a set of shampoos and soaps. So sweet!

So, that was my Chuseok experience. I’m so grateful for my co-teacher’s hospitality and her family’s kindness.

Happy Chuseok!

Rainy days

I love them. The weather in Daegu has become a strange rollercoaster of quite chilly in the morning (55-60 degrees), moderately hot during the day (75-80), and quite chilly again after sundown.

As someone from a state that gets extremely cold in winter, I’m ashamed to admit that 55 degrees feels really really cold now. After months and months where the temperature never fell below 80, even at night, the sudden 30ish degree drop makes me feel like it’s the dead of winter when I step outside in shorts and a t-shirt.

But I still love it. Fall is such a lovely season. I love opening the window and letting the fresh chilly air come through.

Last week at my main school, I passed by some 3rd graders in the hallway on the way to the teachers’ cafeteria – “Oh, Teacher! Hello! I miss you! Good lunch-ee!” – and then one of them yelled back after they had passed by: “I think you every day!” Aww.

There is this one boy in my 3rd grade class at my small school; he is pretty low level, but he always tries to answer my questions. (He also always shouts his answers. I cannot seem to get him to lower his volume.) His enthusiasm and effort (and inadvertent humor) carry the class when we’re having a sleepy, apathetic sort of day. I always look forward to that class because I know that if nothing else, even if all the other kids just stare at me silently through a haze of sleepiness, he will try his best and make me laugh.

But this story isn’t actually about his enthusiasm. This week I went to his class and immediately looked for him, expecting his cheerful greeting – but as I started class I realized something was wrong. He sat with his head slightly bowed, not speaking a word. He wasn’t sleeping; he just wouldn’t look up or engage. Poor kid. At a moment when the other kids were practicing dialogue with a partner, I went and asked him if he was okay, but I don’t think he wanted to talk about it (even if one of us was fluent in the other’s language), so I let him be.

As we started playing the telepathy game that I described in Monday’s post, I saw my male co-teacher go over and sit down beside him (he didn’t have a partner; he was alone in the back row) and start writing answers on the whiteboard. Since it was my 3rd class with this co-teacher, he knew all the telepathy game answers and so he helped that kid start getting points. It was really sweet.

P.S. I added a new Archives page at the top. It was frustrating to me that the only way to skim through the archives on this blog was to click the month and scroll through all the posts. The new page links to each post by title. Yay!

Thoughts on a Monday afternoon (mostly related to music seemingly)

Postscript which I am adding as a cautionary prologue: This is a heinously long post, and even though I told myself I would write fewer of these touchy-feely “aren’t my students so wonderful” posts and focus more on just quoting the funny things they say… alas, today I was feeling sentimental, and I’m afraid this post became far too verbose. Enter if you dare.

On trust

— As of this week, I’ve officially started to feel that bond with the kids at my smaller school that I felt with the 3rd graders at my main school long ago. I guess it makes sense that it would take longer to build trust and relationship with the students I only see once every 3 weeks.

It’s crazy how important trust is for effective teaching. Maybe you’re thinking, “Why do they need to ‘trust’ their ESL teacher? You’re just going into their classroom once a week / once every 3 weeks for 45 minutes, making them repeat some English expressions, playing a game with them, and leaving again. What part of that involves trust?”

True. It’s not quite the same as trust in the sense of “I’m trusting you with my money” or “I’m trusting you with my deep dark secret,” but it is a sort of trust nonetheless. I think I’ve written about it before, when it started happening at my main school. It’s moving from the vague “Oh there’s the foreign teacher” (on their part) and “Oh there are some B-level 3rd graders” (on my part) to a more personal bond and understanding.

If trust is “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something” (according to Google), I think the feeling I’m talking about can fit into that definition.

I know more about their individual personalities and class needs as a whole now, and so I can tailor my lessons around that. On the flip side, my students know that I have the best intentions for them, even if my activities sometimes flop or my lessons (or parts of them) aren’t always exciting. They give more effort because they trust that I’m going to give them my best, and in turn I produce better and better materials for them, and the cycle continues, building more trust and a more positive environment.

Last semester here, I felt more like an exhibit or a special event – “Every 3 weeks you can stare at the foreign teacher for 45 minutes instead of staring at your usual teachers.” Any progress I could make with them during that time, in terms of building a relationship, seemed completely lost 3 weeks later.

Now, finally, after an average of 7 or 8 classes with each grade/level here, I feel more like their teacher. ‘Bout time.

This definitely also has something to do with the fact that I now have 6 months of teaching experience versus being a complete noob in the 1st semester. Not saying 6 months is a lot, but it’s something. Developing a harmonious, familiar, friendly atmosphere with the co-teachers that I see just as infrequently as the students also helps.

On classroom fun

— On that note, I had my B-level 3rd graders today. Back at the start, I dreaded the week that I had class with them because my experience with them was that they were rowdy, did not listen, did not care, etc. Gradually they have become better and better, and now they are actually one of my favorite levels to teach (due to aforementioned trust/rapport).

Today we played a telepathy game. Their textbook lesson was on opinions and saying “In my opinion, blah blah blah.” So I gave them mini whiteboards and asked them opinion questions with 3 multiple choice options. (For example, “Which food is most delicious? A) Banana, B) Ice cream, C) Cheeseburger.”) They wrote A, B, or C on their whiteboards; I counted down “3, 2, 1, boards up!” They would hold up the board to reveal their answers. Then I’d say, “Ready, go!” and they would say the key expression together: “In my opinion [A, B, or C] is best.” Then I’d reveal the “lucky answer,” a.k.a. the one that matches my personal opinion, which was worth 1 point. (That’s where the telepathy part comes in – trying to read the teacher’s mind.)

They got really into this game, like way more than I expected. It’s simple enough for the lower level kids to play along and have fun, but engaging even for the higher levels. When they realized that in order to get the “lucky answer,” they had to try to guess which option I would choose, they got very excited and had intense debates with their partners.

Some of them have been paying attention when I constantly tell them that I love ice cream more than life itself (okay, I don’t tell them exactly that…), so they get that question right.

One question is “Which shirt is best?” with a red dressy blouse, a plain blue T-shirt, and a simple black long-sleeve. The answer is the black long-sleeve. Almost all of them have gotten this one right, because, as they proudly proclaim after the big reveal, “they know Teacher’s style.” (And honestly, my wardrobe does consist of mostly whites, grays, and blacks. It’s hard to find formal wear in flattering colors here.)

They become outraged when I reveal that in my opinion, 2NE1 is better than EXID and Big Bang is preferable to PSY.

When I ask, “Which game is best? A) Sudden Attack, B) Starcraft II, C) League of Legends,” the boys get very excited and choose C (I swear every Korean middle school boy plays LoL), then get very indignant and let down when I reveal the answer as A, and also that I haven’t actually played any of these games. Hehehe.

On music

— My soul feels very ’90s grunge/alt rock today. Do you experience this? Days, or at least moments, when you just need to listen to one particular type of music, not necessarily by the same artist, but in the same genre and with the same general mood? So today has been a day for “Creep,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Black Hole Sun,” “Zombie,” “Wonderwall,” and “Where Is My Mind” (technically not ’90s, but close enough).

These types of songs are the ones that surrounded my childhood without actually entering it much, since during the first decade of my life I mostly listened to whatever my parents were listening to, particularly my dad – which was in itself an eclectically healthy blend of genres, eras, and styles, from Peter Gabriel, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, R.E.M., Cake, and The Go-Go’s to Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, B.B. King, and Duke Ellington to Van Morrison, The Beatles, and Steely Dan to Mozart, Handel, and Beethoven. (I’m sure my dad will read this and point out that I missed some quintessential artists in this list!)(Because he is one of maybe 6 or 7 people who read this blog consistently. Heh heh.)(Hi Dad.)

Those are the artists that can bring me directly back into my childhood, with warm fuzzy visions of cozy nights at home after dinner… of “music parties” that lasted long past bedtime* with my dad acting as DJ and pulling out his record collection to introduce my siblings and me to a new band or singer… of parties with my parents’ friends and their kids, when I would be waiting for everyone to just go home already (yes, I’ve always been an introvert).

*Who am I kidding, we didn’t have “bedtime” in my house! As a family of homeschooling night owls, it just made more sense to keep our days and nights running a few hours later than those of everyone else. And it was awesome, might I add.

The ’90s pop and alt rock, then, became the cushioning around my memories of childhood – always there at the edges in a general sense, but not attached to anything specific. Many of the most popular artists at the time – Britney Spears, Jewel, Christina Aguilera, No Doubt, Backstreet Boys, Third Eye Blind, Nirvana, Oasis, and the MANY one-hit wonders of the ’90s (I’m talking “Ice Ice Baby,” “U Can’t Touch This,” “What Is Love,” “Stay (I Missed You),” “Closing Time,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Save Tonight,” “MMMBop,” “Tubthumping”… seriously, the ’90s has to be the decade with the most one-hit wonders ever, right?!) – were not particularly popular in our household. I never owned a single Britney, NSYNC, or Backstreet Boys album (were my sister and I possibly the only ’90s kids who didn’t?).

But even so, those songs bring me back to my childhood in an equally nostalgic but different way. I think everyone has songs that fit into these two categories: the kind that gives you specific strong memories, and the kind that gives you general nostalgia feels.

I guess this post turned into a music post. But that’s okay. Music is so universal and yet so personal that the discussion of it is endless. I think many people can almost tell their life story through music, whether chronologically or emotionally or whatever, and the varying ways that different people are touched by different genres and artists is fascinating. So go listen to some music and brighten up your Monday!

Musings during an open class

Not mine, actually. I don’t have time to muse when I have open class. Today my evidently well-known co-teacher had an open class for other teachers in the area to attend, as well as the principal, VP, and all the teachers at my school.

Her class was scheduled for a special “7th period” (usually on Fridays we only have 6 periods), and because this was such a big deal for our area, all the teachers in my school had open classes during 5th and 6th period for parents to come and watch… but zero parents showed up to my classes. That’s totally cool with me.

Anyway, at the end of the day I slipped into the English room with a bunch of other teachers to observe the Big Important Open Class. It was with the 1st graders (the 13-year-olds), high level so they’re pretty good.

As I watched and occasionally strolled around to check out what the kids were working on, the following thoughts occurred to me:

— What a strange and unnatural presentation of the learning environment. The kids are working quietly and studiously in their groups, not making a peep; we all know that is just unrealistic. Meanwhile, hordes of teachers swarm around the desks, craning their necks to peer at the group work like watching monkeys in the zoo or some particularly fascinating flea circus performance. At one point it truly resembled birds of prey swooping in on a victim. Poor kids.

— My CT only betrayed her nerves by the twisting of her fingers as she gave directions and monitored the kids. I know she had been somewhat anxious about this class (and who wouldn’t be?), but everything went smoothly.

— Those are some mighty sparkly silver heels that that Important Educator Woman in her 50s-60s is wearing, especially with that matching mighty sparkly silver schoolgirl headband paired with a simple navy-blue-and-white-lace dress. Seriously, she was basically wearing Dorothy’s original silver slippers. Interesting fashion choices to be sure. (I gleaned she was an Important Educator because she hung out with my principal the whole time, but she doesn’t work at my school.)

— One group of kids was trying to make categories for the words that they had brainstormed earlier relating to the textbook lesson. They had come up with categories like “Feelings” and “Actions,” but I was puzzled when I saw one category that they had labeled “Leftings.” What is a lefting?

Then one of my co-teachers murmured in my ear that that category was for the words that they didn’t know how to categorize. Finally it dawned upon me that they were trying to say “Leftovers” (or, in more natural English, Miscellaneous/Uncategorized).

I like “leftings” better, though.

What’s for dinner tonight?

Oh, just leftings.

Hey, where’d you put that customer information?

I didn’t know where it goes, so I filed it under Leftings.

Happy Friday!

A dialogue with my cleaning crew

So, I’ve mentioned before that at my small school, four of the 2nd grade boys come in to clean my office at the end of the day. They are low level in English, but they typically speak more English in this 15 minute period of time than they do in my entire 45-minute class with them.

Here’s what they came up with today:

All: “Hello! Hello! Hi!” (addressed to me and my two CTs – neither of whom were listening, but the boys persisted in boisterous greetings nonetheless)

Boy 1 to Boy 2: “Do you speak Eng-uh-lish-ee?”

Boy 2: “Yes, I do.”

Boy 3 (in Korean)“Isn’t it ‘Yes, I can’?”

Boy 1: “I go … trash-ee room!” —> I was particularly surprised by this boy, who is usually extremely quiet and seemingly shy in class. Turns out he does have the ability to formulate his own sentences!

Boy 4 (in Korean, sounding exasperated)“You’re going to throw out the trash?”

Boy 2: “Do you mind? Open … window?” —> Me: *mentally high fiving myself because “Do you mind” was the key expression from my last lesson with his class. And now he’s using it in context! YESSS! (I mean, yeah, the window was already open, but close enough!)*

Boy 3 (picking up a basketball which is randomly in our office)“Ba-suh-ket-ball?” *looking inquisitively in my direction for confirmation*

Me: “Yes, basketball.”

Boy 2:*mimicking swinging a baseball bat*

Me: “That’s baseball.”

A conversation ensued between them, the result of which was evidently that one of the boys had thought that a basketball was called a baseball.

Boy 1 (pointing at the boy who had been mistaken): “No brain.”

If I had 45 minutes with them in this type of setting, rather than in the classroom with the textbook planted in front of their noses, maybe we would make more progress in getting them to speak conversational English. At any rate, it encourages me that buried deep within them, they do have some small desire to make an effort.

Mondays don’t have to be dreadful

Not when you’re teaching hilarious middle schoolers, anyway.

This week I have the low level kids at my small school. I usually approach this week with fear and trepidation, wondering if any of them will understand a word that comes out of my mouth, or if it’ll be an “I speak, kids stare blankly, CT translates” show for 45 minutes.

However, my first class of the morning (with the 1st graders, 13-yr-olds) calmed my fears. There are only 6 of them, and they are so cute; even though they can barely understand me, they try really hard. They make an effort to communicate with me, whether in Korean or in English, and that is awesome. It’s when the low level kids sit and stare down at their desks, not trying in English OR Korean, that I have trouble teaching. If the communication lines are open, we can make some progress.

One boy in this class, whom I’ve mentioned before, communicates entirely in “I love you” and other random English words he happens to know. For example, today after the obligatory “OH! MADDY TEACHER I LOVE YOU SO MUCH BABY!”, he asked me inquisitively, “I love you basketball?” I had the distinct feeling that his actual question had nothing to do with basketball or love. He just chose any English that came to mind.

Again, the effort to communicate, even when it makes absolutely zero sense, warms my heart and boosts my confidence to keep trying rather than give up and let my CT explain it all. (Although she is wonderful and knows exactly when to jump in and clear things up for them.)

One class like this makes up for five classes’ worth of kids who don’t care and don’t try.

“Teacher, I am happy.”

I have one 1st grade class where several students will say this to me, not just at the beginning of class when I ask them “How are you today?”, but throughout the class, repeatedly.

“Teacher, I am happy.”

“Teacher, happy.”

“Teacher, I am happy! High five!”

It’s so cute.

I also had one boy today whose advice for every problem was “Why don’t you talk to Maddy Teacher?” Sadly, I don’t think I’m a panacea for the world’s problems. But his confidence in me is heartwarming.

O, Children

Not to be confused with the wonderful song of the same name by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – which, in case you’re wondering why it sounds familiar, was featured in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie.

In a pretty infamous scene, I might add: the Harry and Hermione dance. Most HP fans hated it because it was not canon. Personally, I love that scene. I love JK Rowling and I love HP, but I highly disagree with the Harry-Ginny / Hermione-Ron pairings. Sorry to all you diehard Ron & Hermione shippers out there.

And completely aside from all that, the scene is beautiful in its own right. I love the atmosphere, the lighting, the music (of course), and the fact that they don’t have to speak a word yet manage to convey such strong emotion. It’s really lovely. It’s also a bit meta – we, the audience, experience a little interlude in the action and plot, just as Harry and Hermione experience an interlude from the stress, heartache, and exhaustion. A bright spot in the dreary hopelessness and fear.

The dancing scene. Image from http://clicks-clan.blogspot.kr/2015/01/film-review-harry-potter-and-deathly_31.html.

Anyway, my kids have been giving me plenty of laughs today. We’re doing an advice lesson for 1st grade, and they are getting quite creative with their advice. Here are some of the best.

Me: “When it’s good advice, you can say ‘OK, that’s a good idea!’ or ‘Thanks.’ But what can you say when it’s bad advice?”

Student: “Shut up!”

I suppose that’s a valid response. (No, he was not actually telling me to shut up.)

I was walking them through some examples of problems and advice so they could get the hang of it before creating their own problems and advice with a partner. Then this happened.

Me: “Here’s a problem: He says, ‘I have an English test tomorrow. I’m worried.’” (I showed them a picture of a stressed-out student who happened to have a very short buzz cut.)

Student: “You have no hair!”

Me: “Okay, but give him advice! Why don’t you…”

Student: “Why don’t you have hair?”

LOL. It’s even grammatically correct.

Another scenario:

Me: “Her problem is ‘My friend is angry at me.'”

Student: “Why don’t you hit her?”

In pairs, they would write a problem and then their partner would write some advice. These are my faves.

Problem: “I lost my sweetness.”

Advice: “EWWWWW.”

Problem: “I lost my beauty.”

Advice: “Don’t worry, I have it.”

Problem: “I’m too handsome.”

Advice: “Why don’t you look in the mirror?”

Problem: “I have no money.”

Advice: “Why don’t you steal your mom’s money?”

Problem: “(Name) is falling in love with me.”

Advice: “That’s not possible. Why don’t you go to the hospital?”

*Please note, the student giving the advice was the student named in the problem. Guess he wasn’t interested.

Problem: “I have no friends at school.”

Advice: “Me too.”

Problem: “I’m lost!”

Advice: “Why don’t you call your mommy?”

And the last one was when I asked them to stand and present their problems and advice.

Student (reading problem): “I’m (mumblemumble).”

Co-teacher (repeating in a louder voice for the class to hear): “I’m cute.”

Student: *horrified look* “Short! Teacher, I’m SHORT! Short!” (gesturing wildly)

He was evidently deeply insulted that my CT insinuated that he was cute.

My other highlight of the day was when I dropped by my co-teacher’s office on the 3rd graders’ floor. A few groups of 3rd graders were passing by, but they stopped when they saw me and cried, “Teacher! Hi! Long time no see! I miss you! How are you?” They took a minute of their break time to chat with me. Oh goodness, I miss those kids. Even though teaching them was like 10x more difficult than teaching 1st grade. I miss them.