“Be wise my child, and bring joy to my heart;
then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt. (The Proverbs of Solomon 27:11)
I’m totally exhausted after a full week of “Hoppy Palace Phonics” training. My major short-falling seems to be my slowness with the flashcards, which is true, but do I really aspire to greatness at speed-shuffling flashcards in front of two year olds? The critiquing teacher (cute young Canadian gal) told me I looked nervous. Well, yes, actually I was! Put me in front of 500 people for a lecture or a sermon & I rise to the occasion, but put me in front of 6 two year olds.... who are supposed to be learning phonics… and I’m all fumbling fingers.
The critique came from the same teacher who handed out two pencils each - unsharpened at least, but still -- to these same two year olds, and asked them to wave them and pound them and point them up to the sky... we lasted about 6 seconds before little DiDi almost put out her daddy’s eyeballs. (One of the bonuses of teaching on Saturdays is that while the littlest students during the week are usually accompanied by their live-in-nanny/helpers, on Saturdays the little ones often come with their Daddies, and it is an exquisite treat to see these stern, hard-working, professionally elite Dads take off their polished shoes and J-J-Jump up like a J-J-Jack-in-the-Box with their tiny tots. The kids just scream with delight!)
So I met the rest of the teachers and all nine of them are women in their twenties - Canadian, Canadian-Chinese, Australian, British, and two born and raised in Hong Kong to British parents. They are all slim and funky. So of course that explains why the head guy ("Dr. Lee"... although I have yet to see exactly where his doctorate might be from) that explains why he hired me. I just fit right in. (not).
I've certainly discovered again why God doesn't usually allow 50 year olds to have babies. To sit on the floor cross legged, jumping up and down for our song interactions... whoa.
This week we had one class where three boys wet their pants. Another class where little Lili came in the room… took one look and saw me sitting there… and promptly began to cry. I thought it was stranger-anxiety but then my teaching-teacher helpfully reminded me that Lili had already seen me in action last week, and obviously had recognized me again.
But there are moments of incredible sweetness. Like when little Ho-Ho wrapped his arms around my knees and said, “I love you teacher.”
Give me some moments of grace like these and I think I might be able to go on for years.