By YiKen Jongerius
I have a student who always brightens up my day, whether she knows it or not. For example, if we finish our lesson early then we will draw on the Whiteboard feature on Zoom. She loves to make up things for us to draw and even will give me a “grade” for my drawing. It usually ends up being an “A+++” for a mediocre drawing of a butterfly or a flower, but it’s very sweet of her to be so generous about my lackluster drawing skills. One time, she wanted to draw a picture by herself without me looking. She kept saying, “No peeking! Are you peeking?? Don’t look.” When she was done, she was so excited and said “Look! It’s ready!” She had drawn a picture of the two of us at a park. She told me, “Look, this one is you since you’re taller and wear glasses!” It was very wholesome and genuine so I took a screenshot of it so I can remember it.
One time she asked me if we could read stories in English, since we usually read our stories in Spanish. I told her if we finish our lesson early, then I will look for stories in English for us to read or listen to. One day we finished early so we listened to a book about crayons, called The Day the Crayons Quit. The book was written from the point-of-view of the crayons, and they were tired of working so hard. In one part of the book, the blue crayon was very very tired and worn down. She immediately perked up and told me, “YiKen, YiKen. Oh my gosh, I feel so sorry for that blue crayon! He looks very tired. I hope he’s okay!” Her statement made me pause, and I told her, “He looked like he was working very hard! It’s a good reminder to take a break once in a while. I hope he is okay too.” I was surprised by her statement since I didn’t even think about it in that way. I could tell she was being genuine and I was proud of her for showing compassion and for being thoughtful, even if it was towards a drawing in a book.
Another time, we were reading a story about frisbees during our Read Naturally lesson. I asked her what she knew about the story topic to get her to start thinking about the reading. She told me that she didn’t know much about frisbees but “it’s important to have fun and to try your best!” Again, I was surprised by her answer but I was in agreement with her. I told her that working hard and giving your best effort is important so she can continue to learn and I thanked her for all her hard work during our lessons together.
Sometimes from an “adult” point of view I forget to stop and wonder. Sometimes I get so caught up in all the work that I should do that I tend to get tunnel vision. I think kids have a great way in bringing fun and excitement into anything just by being themselves. I have enjoyed getting to know each of my students since they all have their own personalities and talents. They’re unique, silly, creative, and great listeners. They remind me to not take myself too seriously and to keep wondering.