I still consider a part of me to still be a child; and may it be a child for all times’ sake.  I have found an affinity within myself with little kids while teaching them.

While preparing for college applications, I inevitably had to engage myself in some community service as a volunteer to show to the college as a particularly activity I did for the community before joining any schools.  I had been meaning to do that for some time.  However, I had a hard time deciding what to do for there were so many options:  I could look for the senior citizens at a home for the elderly, take care of sick monks and nuns in a Sasana hospital, teach orphans in an orphanage, etc.  I just wanted a change in my routine and so badly wanted to try something new.  At last, I finally arrived at the decision to teach little children for the summer at the English language school I used to go to.  The teacher invited me there.  He is not my old-time teacher, but I accepted the invitation because I like the ambiance of the school and the payment didn’t matter.  The wages for the teachers weren’t high (That’s why I didn’t mind); the school was small with only 3 head teachers and many other teachers of lower ranks.

So, I went there on the first day of the summer classes.  The little children came in with time accompanied by their parents.  They started to arrive before 9 in the morning and till 10 o’clock, they’re pouring in.  There were tiny ones – 4 to 6 year-olds – and the eldest were just above 10, altogether about 300.  Watching them gather in the hall, I was reminded of Michael Jackson’s spoken intro to “Heal the World”: “Think about the generations so that they wanna make a better place for the children and the children’s children … so that they can make it a better world for them.  I think they can make it a better place.” It’s just simple utter but it means a lot to most who have heard the song.  Parts of the first verse from Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” also came to mind …
“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier …”

And on a board on the wall wields the motto of the school, which is a quote by the American educator and astronaut Christa McAuliffe which reads, “I touch the future.  I teach.

Then, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is gonna be a wonderful summer – probably one of the most memorable in my life!

It’s been about a month since the classes started, and so far, I am right.  I was a part time teacher, so I don’t have to teach a particular class.  I was everywhere, helping the teachers who need help.  At the beginning of the classes, I had only thought about teaching, not the children, because I have firmly kept in mind that the greatest good one can do for others is to help them discover what they have within themselves.  It is correct; that’s what all great people have done for those around them.  Day by day, I came to develop an affinity for the children, not only my students but for the whole student body at school.

Children in the world

Honestly, I have always loved children.  But previously, I saw them only as little animals (humanlings), like kittens, puppies and chicks – nothing more.  I’d play with them, make them smile and “let bygones, be bygones”Animals (beasts) in the Burmese language are defined as creatures that care only for three things, namely food, sleep and sex.  Well, I was kind of wrong to think that children think about eating, sleeping and having fun (For them it’s fun, not sex, coz you know they don’t …).  My attitude changed.  I found hundreds of them coming together for language classes during the summer when they should be playing 24/7.  And they had either acquiesced to their parents’ demand or come by their own free will – which is very appreciable.  The head of the school arranged a lot of play things for the students for this particular reason.  Teaching little children, even for an assistant teacher, can be tough because the children no matter what the age are all over the place, running around, screaming and laughing for one instance and crying the next.  From teaching the correct spellings and pronunciations to making them memorize and recite require arduous efforts, and unsurprisingly, at the end of the day, all your energy is sapped.

Yet it is thinking about them before going to bed can be of a most subtle and pleasant feeling.  Not that it’s intense but it makes me feel euphoric and make me soft squeals and giggles before falling asleep just to think about a little boy coming to say hello to me, a girl who got cross because a teacher made her correct the mistakes, a boy whose pronunciation cannot be corrected even after trying for more than 20 minutes, a girl colouring a cow red, a boy crying because he had left his pencil case at home.  All of the small things come to my mind to be recorded down in my journal.  Well, these are “Small Gifts” to me from fate of my karma, and I’m glad I enjoy every bit of it.

For the children, we – as teachers – are to give all we have to educate them and nurture them in every possible way we can.  They truly are our future and the next generations need them …

Tomorrow’s sad …  it’s Saturday and I don’t get to see the children.  It would be a SADurday.  They are wonderful, they are more than “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”: they are what they are … CHILDREN!

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