Monday morning comes around and even though it’s only been two days since they’ve seen me, my preschool students stampede at me so hard they almost knock hot coffee all over their own heads from the full cup that I’m trying to hold aloft. I love weekends and hate waking up on Monday mornings, but there is no better greeting at 7:15am on Monday than 30 little people running to hug you like they haven’t seen you in years.
Year 2 at CBS has been completely different from my first year here. Last year I was teaching 3rd grade and trying to get my bearings, navigating social situations and new challenges with my nervous Spanish. This year all of that seems like old hat- I spend more time talking in Spanish than in English at work, and spend most of my time with families from school or my Honduran friends. I also have taken on the slightly overwhelming position of volunteer coordinator and assistant director of the school. This basically just means that I have about 20 things to do every day and 15 different people that need things from me. I get about 60% of it done before giving up around 9pm and watching Netflix in my bed before passing out. Although my to-do lists make me cringe and managing people is exhausting, it’s nice being a resource for so many people and being able to help solve some of their problems.
However, the best part of my day every single day is teaching the little kids. I cannot even explain how goofy these kids are. I have one little boy who power slides down the middle of the classroom any chance he gets, getting dirt all over his pants, and then will look up at me with this slightly crazed smile on his face. There’s the girl who cannot finish her morning snack because she won’t stop dancing and spinning around in circles, or the one who literally falls out of her chair 7 times a day and still looks just as shocked every time as if she can’t understand why this keeps happening to her. One of my prepa students recently took it upon himself to sit me down and explain the differences between men and women to me. (“Miss, women its always talk talk talk. Men, its all face. We don’t talk. We just make faces.” He then demonstrated several of these faces.) I spend my mornings cracking up, and receiving grubby little hugs that leave me covered in glue, paint and sweat. (Even though sometimes these hugs are less like hugs and more like an excuse to wipe their sweat off on my dress. Some of the more brazen ones have stopped feigning the hug portion of the interaction and instead just come up and press their face into my stomach and walk away, leaving a wet face imprint on my dress- it’s a good look, trust me.) I teach 60 awesome, weird 4 and 5 year olds, and it’s hard to be in a bad mood around them for more than a minute without one of them making me laugh or smile.
Every week at our volunteer meeting, we go around and everyone says a highlight of the week. Sometimes it’s a funny story about student or an academic success. Sometimes it’s whatever small thing got you through one of those weeks that all teachers have where you want to rip your hair out and run away screaming. This past week one of our newest volunteers just said, “I’m happy here” as his highlight. And I couldn’t agree more.
Kinder and Prepa Teacher & Volunteer Coordinator