I spent the first few weeks here wondering what the dickens I was thinking hauling myself half way around the world for this. Teaching I mean. There was nothing in my experience to suggest that I would be a qualified elementary school teacher. The closest thing I had ever been to a teacher was a camp counselor, and turns out getting kids to make a lot of noise and have more fun is a lot easier than getting them to stop making noise and quit having so much fun.

So when I found myself standing frantic in front of a room full of little children, them running, yelling, throwing things, speaking in foreign languages, me having no idea what to do, how to make them stop, or what in heavens name they were even saying, there was no training I could call on to help me deal with that unique situation.
I imagine I probably had frazzled little hairs whisping out in all directions, and the kids? They could definitely smell my fear. I think the fumes were propelling them onward, gearing them up into a more frenzied state. Luckily it's only gotten better after that first crazy day of chaos. Still crazy of course, still chaotic, these are after all children we are talking about, but on a significantly smaller scale. And with me much much calmer throughout it all.
Now I can stand in front of a class of an entire class full of rowdy Italian bellowing ruffians and be simultaneously grading papers, teaching new grammar, writing on the board, dabbing paper towel on someones bloody nose, and calmly telling Lorenzo at the back of the class to please sit down and stop throwing that water bottle across the room or he will knock somebody out with it and I will take away at least 300 awesome points, all without batting an eye.
I've gotten pretty good at this classroom management thing. Good may be a bit of a stretch. But the kids and I have gotten used to each other. And after that we all sort of mellowed out.

I stopped yelling out "Guys, seriously! Seriously? Are you seriously still talking right now? Seriously?" (they didn't hire me to teach English for nothing. Seriously.) "Don't think I won't send every last one of you out to the hall. Cause I seriously will! And I've got all the time in the world (bluff). I can stay here all day! (bigger bluff)." And now they only rarely dance on top of their desks while scream-singing the words to the latest EAL song we've learned in class (I only have myself to blame for this one really) with their annoyingly adorable little Italian accents.
So we've managed, that last period group of kids and I. And it made me feel enormously better when I called in a sub once while sick only to hear she fared far worse than I have. Apparently they could be heard down the hall. The teacher who uses that room after our class came in and gave my kids a good talking to about the disastrous state of things in the room after they had vacated it. Apparently desks were turned over and contents spilled out all over the room. He threatened them with sitting out from recess and scared them straight.

After he left I then openly rewarded them with candy and a movie. It was Halloween after all, and my last day teaching. And I wanted them to remember how much they liked me, and the contrast between Mr. Neinhouse scolding them and then me rewarding them with smiles and stickers and halloween treats and movies afterwards was a comparison I could live with.
And when I let them know that it would in fact be my last day of teaching, seeing those dirty little crestfallen faces was almost enough to forgive them anything. And then when one tear filled little rascal who caused me so much trouble ran up to hug me, and then another joined him, and then the whole class ran up into a giant class group hug, it about did me in.
All was forgotten! They were angels! They had never done wrong a day in their life! I'd never met a more perfect class or more perfect students or loved teaching anyone more than I did them, and I told them so. They ate it up. The lie wouldn't hurt them. Plus I realized afterwards that I don't think it was a lie. I think I actually meant it.




 
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