June 28, 2010

Kindergarten Graduation – June 25, 2010

It’s that time of year again. Kindergarten graduation time. This year, at Giraffe, I have had the pleasure of once again being the English teacher to a few little kids. Justin, Nadia, Andrew, Nunu, and Anita.

Of these five kids, four are graduating. In September, they will be going on to elementary school. As far as I know, they will be starting Grade 1. They are: Justin, Nadia, Andrew, and Nunu.

I remember the first few times Justin came to class, perhaps three years ago. He was a shy little boy. He missed his mommy. His mother is a teacher at Giraffe, Teacher Linda.

Linda would come in, and drop off Justin. As long as mom stayed in the office, he was fine. He would periodically go to the door to check that mom was still there. If mom so much as put on her coat, or made a move to the front door, he would cry. Cry, cry, cry. He’ll probably be embarrassed when he reads this blog in a few years (hopefully).

Justin didn’t want to do anything. All I can say about those first few months, was he missed his mom. Slowly though, he became not so dependent on mommy. I would have the students do something, he’d get involved with that, and then mom had the chance to leave to get other things done. After a while, he sort of ‘warmed up’ to me, and got used to me coming in to class three days a week.

It got to a point, eventually, that his mom would tell me that the only reason he wanted to come to class on certain days (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday), was because Teacher Bill comes in that day. Linda mentioned on more than one occasion, that he would try to hurry his mom out the door in the morning so that he would be to class when I got there. I don’t know what changed in him.

In the beginning, he was always in a hurry to get things done. We would be doing alphabet work. During that time, as part of the exercise, the students had to colour the pictures whatever colour I choose. They had to figure out colours and the picture. He would always try to be the first one done. I remember a few times telling him to colour IN the lines, and not to colour his pictures so fast. Slowly, he began to understand, and would tell the other students to colour in the lines. He sort of became, over time, my ‘translator’ to the other students. LOL

In the past year, I’ve noticed that his English level has improved immeasurably. He participates in class with all the energy that he has. He’s become like a little brother to me, so of course, I call him ‘didi’. Once he found out that I was from Canada, a connection was made in brain.

He has relatives in Saskatoon. This year, he, his baby sister, and his mom, went to Saskatoon for a few weeks holiday. During his visit, I had my new computer with the video cam. Linda had given me her Skype address, and a couple of times, I was able to connect with them during class time. I could see that he was really happy. He got to talk to his friends in Taiwan and see them at the same time. Ahh, the joys of technology.

Every morning for the longest time now, when I get into class, he is usually the first one to come over and give me a hug. Not just a little hug either… a great big bear hug. He says good morning, tells me how he’s doing, sits on my lap… and then he wants my iPhone.

Personally, I think that is part of the reason that he has really become close to me. The iPhone. The kids in general, know almost as much as I do, about using this thing. They know which games they like to play. They like to compete with each other for scores. Once he sort of realized that winning is not always necessary, he’s been more willing to play just for the fun of it, and not be sad when he loses.

He’s turned out to be a great little kid. I’ll miss not seeing him in the morning, but I do hope that his mom continues to keep him in classes where I am a teacher. I also hope that he keeps this new-found attitude of wanting to learn and speak English. He’s come a long way in three years, and I’d hate to see that all go down the drain. I think in some ways, he’s going to bored with the English he will learn in elementary school. He’s progressed way beyond what is taught in these schools. My hope is that his mom and dad will enroll him in an English language school, where he can be challenged a lot more.

Good luck in Grade 1, didi!!


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