The students in both my 2nd grade and 5th grade classes like to race to see who finishes their workbook page first by shouting out “Finished!” when they are. It bugs the crap out of me, and I’m always telling them to stop it or ignore them. Today, the 5th graders kept doing it, and finally I exclaimed, “Why does everyone keep telling me that they’re finished?” Edison piped up from the front row, “Because they’re from Finland.”
Finished. Finnish. Finland. Surprised that Edison could even make jokes in English, I couldn’t keep a straight face for awhile.
And then during break, John who is normally the quietest and shyest kid in the class, pulled out his Chinese homework and says to Melody (who drives me nuts because she’s such a tomboy and is always talking in class) loudly in Chinese, “Teacher, help me do my math homework.” I’m sitting in the corner, pretending to grade homework and ignoring him, but quite interested in where this conversation was headed. Granted, it’s all in Chinese.
John: Teacher, come and help me do my math. Teacher, help me do my math!
Melody: Come on, Teacher doesn’t understand Chinese.
John: Yah, whatever. Hmpf, if we have to learn English, then why can’t she learn some Chinese?
At this point, I stepped in, amused and in English, “So John, you really think I can’t understand what you’re saying?”
John was completely taken aback. It was like a switch in personalities. In English, he’s all quiet and hesitant but in Chinese, he’s loud and haughty and can make comebacks quick as lightning. It was back to the English John, “Oh Tea.. Teacher, you know Chinese? Teacher, you learn Chinese?”
“Yes John, I can understand Chinese.”
In Chinese, muttered to Melody, “Wow, English and Chinese, Teacher’s amazing.”
On another note, the school gave me more hours. I get a few more tutoring hours, and also two more junior high classes to teach. One’s at Friday night from 7-9pm, and the other one is Saturday morning from 9-12pm. So now I’m up to 22 hours a week, which is plenty for me, but there goes my weekend.