They Give Me More Than I Give Them

October 12, 2011 § 3 Comments

School has been in session for about two months. I have learned that elementary students need a lot of energy, love, and attention. I love giving it to them but it takes a lot out of me. Even though I give them so much of me they give me more than I realize – laughter, lots of laughter. As the school year rolls on, I’ll continue to share how wonderful these young students are. Below is round 1 of the stories:

1. I’m standing by the art room ripping large green paper from the roll, and a wonderful conversation about my identity with a curious second grade girl occurs.

  • Girl (G) – Are you mixed? (She squints her eyes at me.)
  • Pakou (P) – What?
  • G – Are you mixed? (Her head is now tilted with her hand on her hip as if she is demanding an answer.)
  • P – What do you think I’m mixed with?
  • G – Black.
  • P – No, I’m Hmong. I’m all Asian.
  • G – Oh!

The little girl walks away with new vocabulary added to her dictionary; however, I was a little surprised to be considered part of a culture that I so admire. Why hasn’t anyone else seen the African-American in me?

2. The annual school picture day can be quite an event for some children. Throughout the day I saw proud ties, pointy heels, sleek hair, and wide smiles. On this particular day, this conversation was overheard by a girl to a boy at the lockers:

  • Girl exclaims to the Boy at the lockers, “It’s the most important day of the year and you’re wearing a cookie on your shirt!”

I guess Cookie Monster isn’t cool enough for school pictures.

3. During a speech-therapy session a student and I were working on synonyms. The student had to find a pair of words from a pile that meant the same thing. The student selected the words “fat” and “chubby.” As I made my chubby face to give a little joy to her morning, she was doing the same to me. As she squished her cheeks together she said, “My chubby cheek can get to my eye.” I looked up at her and her left eye was almost invisible due to her chubby cheek being pressed high above her cheekbone. IT-WAS-GREAT!

Here is a little peek into where these memories are happening.

The Speech Rainforest - Can you spot the frog?

Can you spot the monkey mug?

I think that teaching is a beautiful profession and that teachers of young children do one of the best things that there is to do in life: bring joy and beauty, mystery and mischievous delight into the hearts of little people in their years of greatest curiosity. – Jonathan Kozol

A nod to these children who are bold in their curiosity and to teachers who embrace it.


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§ 3 Responses to They Give Me More Than I Give Them

  • e says:

    I love the unabashed curiosity and questions kids have :D Also fascinating to get glimpses into what kids consider most important — I should’ve known, duh, picture day! And wow, all the chairs and tables in the elementary schools in this district look the same.

  • greenanne says:

    Such darling stories Pakou! Glad YOU can be there to love on these children when they need it.

  • I often miss my days in the classroom, despite–or because of?–the fact there was much more laughter than actual teaching. I’ve been thinking about this a lot as Halloween approaches. I loved teaching my students about Halloween, and learning from them about laughing and seizing the moment.

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