Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sticking it out

One of the biggest changes with this job is that I now teach kindie. And when I say kindie, I mean babies. Our first student has just gone up to the 'Pre-K' class and arrived speaking not one word of English. Within a month, she was able to identify beginning sounds of words, and name lots of animals. She's pretty much a genius in her new class.

My latest student is even tinier than the last one. I'm told he's 4 and a half, but I suspect he's actually closer to 3. He doesn't speak any English either, which is fine, but he also makes mules look compliant. We are currently locked in a battle of wills, from which I refuse to back down. His mother (thank god!) has said that we should be 'strong' with him when he is stubborn. So I hope this means she will continue to send him here, despite the fact that he spent 2 solid lessons this morning crying and saying things like 'I want to go home', 'I miss my mom', 'I hate it here.' and my favorite: 'Tell me! Why did I get sent here? Tell meeeeee!' (It really adds to the drama to have the wailing translated.)

What could have possibly caused such outrage from our Napoleon-in-training? Oh, just a request to sit next to the big mean white lady, while the nice Korean lady (who has been successfully recruited to the dark side) refuses to acknowledge his existence. All credit to him, he kept up his wailing until after the bell rang, and the Korean teacher left the room. I'd pretty much given up thinking that this plan would work, when I finally managed to drag him to the chair, and he sat himself down. After lots of hugs and 'Good boy!'s, I turned him over to the kindness of the Korean staff who promptly laid him down for a nap. Which lasted through lunch.

After he woke up, and had lunch, we had a most pleasant art class. He even cleaned up his books and pencils without complaint.

Battle is scheduled to recommence tomorrow morning.

Update: The next two days have passed without tears, and only minimal resistance. He's even said (in Korean of course...) that he wants to speak in English! Here's hoping this cease-fire can turn into lasting peace.

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