Wednesday, August 19, 2009

As the majority of my students concentrated on their vocabulary tests, Christina pushed her finished test aside. Quietly, she pulled out books to study for a test in her following class.

I watched as she followed the foreign words with the tip of her blue highlighter. Every few moments, the highlighter would pause, and I could see her eyes narrow further in concentration. I wondered if the sentences, correctly formed on paper, could also correctly form in her mind.

Instead of stopping, the highlighter tapped against the paper. Christina casually rolled her head to meet her shoulder and lifted her eyes to the window. Suddenly I was taken back to Mrs. Zaferopolos' second grade class. My math book may as well have been written in Greek because I barely could translate fractions. Constantly my eyes would find the window, and I would daydream about what every little girl thinks on... horses, swimming, and what happened at lunch earlier. Within seconds, Mrs. Zaferopolos would summon me back to figuring out fractions. She ruined so many rides on my horse, she pulled me out of my neighbor's pool, and interrupted the replaying lunchtime conversations.

Christina's blue highlighter scribbled translucent ink onto her nails. She pressed it deep into the ridges but was careful not to stain the adjacent skin. After she painted three nails, she placed the highlighter down to admire her work.

I was caught.

She smiled to me, and I walked over to her seat.

Before I could even speak, she took my hand into her own.
"Patty teacher, at Korean school, I am the fastest in the second grade! I am even faster than all of the boys."

She refused to let me speak..

"You have the most beautiful hands, teacher. Do you think that one day I will be as beautiful as you?"

My heart instantly warmed. On more than one occasion, I've had a student touch me so deeply with their heartfelt words, that it has almost pushed out my tears.

"Teacher! Your face is so red!"

I let out a sigh and laughter.

"Oh, Christina.. you are so beautiful," I said, crouching down so that my eyes could meet her level. "How did I ever get to be so lucky that I am your teacher? I hope that one day, I can be as beautiful as you..."

She placed my hand on her folder and started to turn the nail on my index finger blue.

"Here Patty teacher, this will help," she said.

I let her fill in the rest of my nails. She was again so cautious to deeply shade them, yet concerned with not coloring the cuticles. Within my two minute manicure, I felt so loved...

While it is such a desire of mine to show all of my students how much value that each of them possess, I am constantly reaffirmed of my own.