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Monday, February 13, 2012

Priceless

Teaching kids to speak English is fun! Sometimes, I can’t believe that I get paid to do it. A few days ago, a child from the second grade came into the teacher’s room. The child introduced herself and I said, “Hello, I’m Mr. Kimball,” as I shook her tiny hand. This was the first time I met a second grader from this school. The child’s face blushed with excitement and she quickly turned around and made a dash for the door. A few moments later, the same child entered the room along with two other children. My guess was that they were all close friends. After some intense whispering and nudging, the other two children told me their names. I greeted them with a huge smile and shook their hands and said, “Nice to meet you.” They looked at each other and covered their mouths that had opened in astonishment. The three children quickly disappeared, only to return with three more children. The teacher’s room at this school was tiny. There was barely enough room for the teachers. I was laughing hysterically to myself as I watched what was transpiring. The six children managed to wedge themselves between the desks and chairs so that they could partake in the introductions. I shook everyone’s tiny hands and spoke in a deep voice, “Nice to meet you!” Up until this moment, I had been introduced only to the girls from the class. A boy stepped forward and said in a confident, tiny voice, “Nice to meet you!” I gave him an extra firm handshake. The six children quickly disappeared.
The interesting thing about all of this was that their teacher had no idea that the students were going to do this. The second grade teacher sat at her desk in the teacher’s room soaking up all of the entertainment. Several minutes had passed. Sure enough…the entire second grade class (15 students) squeezed into the teacher’s room. The only boy in the class handed me a piece of paper. It was a song that I had given to the fifth grade teacher earlier. He asked softly, “Could you play this?” I looked down at my watch. It was Friday and almost time to go home. I looked at all of those beautiful children. Somehow, the children had managed to get all of the teachers to stand up and to make room for them to be near me. I answered the boy’s question with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” It’s not easy to get 15 second grader’s to be quiet at the same time. They were silenced with expectation as I picked up the guitar and started to play. The song was, “It’s a Small World.” The children and teachers clapped and sang (as best as they could). The spontaneous reactions from the students and faculty made the whole experience magical. I’m still new at teaching, but I believe that this is why teachers do what they do…the rewards are priceless.  
George

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