From the Classroom Notebook of an English Teacher

When I was working in Seoul, I used to keep a notebook with me during class time. I filled the pages with funny things my kids would say, crazy things they would do, amazing things they used to tell me, and whatever random thoughts happened to pass through my mind as I sat there in my little kid-sized plastic chair, chatting with them and masterminding plans to steal them away to Canada without their parents noticing. When I wasn’t busy scheming, I often just documented their behaviour, mostly merely to occupy myself during their playtime when I ran out of conniving ideas. ; )

I recently resurrected this book, never intending to share any of its contents, but found some of the entries too outlandish and absurdly unpredictable to resist posting. This next excerpt is from a cloudy day in the middle of February, 2010.

February 12, 2010
I’m sitting here in my classroom, across the table from Jenny and Haeun, the 5 year old Korean girls in my class. They’re happily colouring away in Hauen’s new Barbie princess colouring book.
The boys are on the floor, to my left, making all sorts of things with their basket of toy blocks. Jesse is making an airplane gun. James is making medicine. Elliot is making an airplane gun too. And Andy is working on an airplane gun? Today is all about airplane guns apparently.

I’m surprised Jenny isn’t spending her playtime gazing awkwardly at awkward Elliot. I never knew it was possible to be completely infatuated with someone when you’ve only been alive for 5 years, but, let’s be honest. I don’t know much about anything, least of all the chemistry of two 5-year olds in love. Jenny has been following Elliot around like a puppy dog for the last two weeks. But who am I to judge? Good for them? Oh, hold that thought. Hauen is singing.
“Elliot, Elliot, Elliot-o,
Elliot, Elliot, Elliot Muffin
Elliot, Elliot, Elliot is cute
Elliot, Elliot Elliot Muffin Man
Elliot, Elliot, Elliot and Jenny
Elliot, Elliot Jenny and kiss
Elliot, Elliot, Jenny and kiss
A-and a-and, marry and kiss!

Elliot, Elliot, Elliot and cry
Elliot, Elliot, everyday cry!”

The girl’s got a point. I can’t remember the last day he didn’t cry. I do remember the last time he shit his pants (my birthday).
Oh help me, now they’re singing “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer”… It’s the middle of February.
And the boys have completed their airplane gun assembly and are running around “shooting” each other. James has finished making his medicine.. and then, “Oh no, James is died!” (James always dies at playtime).

I finish checking their homework.
I ask Andy, “Why didn’t you finish your homework?”
Andy: “Because I eat meat. Cow meat.”
Of course. Because that makes sense?

Jesse hasn’t finished his, either.
Me: “Jesse, you didn’t do your homework?”
Jesse: “Nope.”
Me: “Why not?”
Jesse: “Because the girls not kiss me.”
Well, now that makes perfect sense. : )