Monday, June 2, 2014

Not all kids are bad

Fact: I teach kids sometimes. Fact: when those days come, I dread it. The kids, in general, are good. But get them in a group, after a day of being jailed in their classrooms, and it's like the apocalypse has been unleashed. They don't listen to me, they act like they don't understand me when I speak English, they start wrestling.... it often quickly disintegrates into a sh*tshow.

But hey, with the bad comes the good (re: it pays my grocery bill).

So when a teacher from Úbeda, who is also a student of mine, asked me to speak to a class of 50 kids, all 11 - 12 years old, I felt scared but said 'yes' anyway. Upon arrival at her school she introduced me to every teacher, the school doctor, and the cafeteria staff. It was a small school but full of energy. She explained that they've had to make do with what they get from the government. At the same time, they work hard to create a 'safe bubble' that is separate from the turmoil which some of the gitano students experience at home.

With 50 sets of eyes staring at me, I started talking to the surprisingly well-behaved children. My speaking level was low at first, but later I realized that their level of English was actually quite good. They asked many interesting questions, and some that are normally considered faux-pas in Canada: “Is your family rich?” (I pointed at my clothes and said, 'Uh, no.'), “How OLD are you?” (oh how I love that question), and “Do you have a boyfriend?” (a question from a future player)

The kids were so excited when they presented the gifts. I received really cute elastic bracelets, each featuring the colours of the flags of my Canadian city, Andalucía, and Spain. Also, they had made a keychain decoration with an 'A'. Finally, I was given beautiful Úbeda pottery with the name of the school etched into it. Then the teacher pulled out the guitar and they sang a pitch-perfect “What a Wonderful World”. I was amazed by their talent, and I almost (ALMOST!) cried.

Then I went home with my student and enjoyed the most wonderful homecooked lunch with her family. She also gifted me a gorgeous Mango dress, which really touched me because it was an infinitely generous gesture. I was really flattered that she invited me to her school to speak to her children. I think it's a sign of what she thinks of my teaching ability, and I feel really honoured.

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