There’s a boy in my Starter class (roughly 1st grade in America) and he is a funny boy. He is high strung, and always moving. He has lost both front teeth, though, one has grown in. It’s an adult tooth, which means it is far too large for the head that holds it.
He is the lone boy in a class of girls.
I will often look up from helping a student, and see him wandering aimlessly around the classroom. I have to direct him back to his seat, only to once again, look up and see him standing and staring blankly at the wall.
I don’t understand this boy most of the time.
The cute thing about Korean kids this age, is that most know very little English. The extent of their knowledge is “teacher, bathroom!” (Teacher, may I use the restroom?) or, “Teacher, book. NO!” (Teacher, I don’t have a book)
After all the vowels have been reviewed and the stickers have found their home in their workbook, the kids will find their place in line and wait for the bell to signal their freedom.
During this time the kids will do everything in their power to talk to me. It’s cute, really. Their favorite conversation is to ask, ” Teacher, Elizabeth. I love you?” (Are you married to Elizabeth?) And after they stop giggling at my affirmative answer, they follow up with “Elizabeth and you, popo?” (Do you kiss her?) This makes them giggle for another couple minutes.
We must have repeated this conversation daily for the past 2 months.
The boy never seems to care about this conversation. What he does care about is that people are talking and I’m talking back. And none of these conversations include him.
Usually the above mentioned conversations are underway when I hear a, “Teacher!!!”
I look over and see the boy standing with a pleading look on his face. He wants my attention. He follows with, well, any English word he can think of. Never do these words have any relevance or purpose to any situation at hand. The words have ranged from “Car” to “Bathroom.” He doesn’t really care what he communicates. He just wants to prove that he can speak English, and he just wants me to notice. He wants me to hear him.
How similar I am to him.
God, how I say the most strange things to you. Thank you for hearing what I mean, and not what I say.
Thank you for hearing this “one-toothed plea for attention.”