Sometimes you just have to think positive. Make a list of all the good things going for you. For example:
- I wasn’t eaten by a crocodile today
- My shoes didn’t give me blisters again
- I finally found the time to shave my legs
- The Hamilton soundtrack downloaded on my phone
- I ate an orange and a fruit tart for dinner
- I have reliable internet which allows me to talk to you all
- My family wasn’t eaten by bears
It’s lists like these that make days like today not awful.
We were finally able to start teaching today and it was less than perfect. I started out with a great game plan though.
I was going to make hot dog octopuses with the kids. It’s simple enough, you just cut the hot dog so it has eight legs and give it ketchup eyes.
I made a little octopus with some cardstock paper to show the kids what we would be making. I named him Harold.
Harold had a rough day.
The kids are so freaking cute, but they’re young and it was the first day of school. Plus they spoke very little English and we don’t use Spanish to speak to them.
In other words, it was like herding cats. With a pool noodle. While wading in fruit loops.
Harold lost an eye within the first two minutes because someone smacked him.
Then someone tried to eat him. That didn’t work out so well and the kids learned the important difference between the hotdog and the paper octopus.
His most dangerous encounter was when someone snatched him from behind me and threw him out the window. He landed in a puddle and almost died.
Rescuing him took the entire class out of the classroom and running through the hallways.
But then he got microwaved so I’m not sure it was much of a rescue.
Last but not least someone tried to rip his legs off, but I was able to save him from that and now he’s comfortably retired in the safety of my bedroom.
We’re both comfortably retired in the safety of my bedroom. Safe from tiny humans who either want to ignore me, hug me or hit me.
I promise I did everything I could to stay in control. But what am I supposed to do when a kid who doesn’t understand English decides to climb upside down on the stair railing like a monkey?
Or when another one leaves the classroom entirely? Or when all of them decide to ignore the teacher and stand on the table instead?
I did what I know how to do—I stayed calm. I put my hands under the monkey kid to catch him if he fell. I ignored the bad and focused on the good. I promised rewards for good behavior and denied privileges (like eating the hot dog) to bad behavior.
When I remained calm the kids remained calm-ish. Well ok, maybe just less insane. They at least heard what I was saying most of the time and repeated many of the words I asked them to.
All-in all the first day of school was pretty rough, but at the end of the day at least I’m alive. At most, I’m in freaking Costa Rica.
Who cares if the food is making me sick and I’m scared to walk the streets at night? Who cares if the kids are complicated? Who cares if there are spiders the size of fifty cent pieces in our bathroom?
The kids will get easier. The lessons will go smoother. The spiders can be squished and different food can be purchased.
At least I’m alive. At most I’m in Costa Rica. The kids are cute as heck and I already want to pack them all up and bring them home with me. Even though that would be the worst idea ever.
I guess the first day wasn’t that bad after all.