This is the story of how a magic hand brought conflict, knowledge, shock, and happiness. The story of how important it is to try, no matter if your outcome is successful or an utter failure. This is how class seven-two brightened up my week.
The Magic Hand
Sometimes the effort is more valuable than the product. I learned this lesson today. There I was in class seven-two a class of young, bright, and sometimes crazy kids. Today, I tried something different.
Class started. My counterpart and I checked everyone’s homework however only a few students completed it today. I walked around the room to examine as the students read out their answers. I often do this in order to check for grammatical mistakes; the little things that don’t show up when you speak.
As I was walking I noticed two girls in the back of the room whispering. The two girls, who up until today, have yet to show much interest in English. Maybe they feel too far behind? Or perhaps they don’t find English valuable? The answer to my question, I have yet to decide. They were sitting there, examining at a small sheet of paper. I’m thinking, “Yes, they did their homework!” As I get closer I notice that the paper is not filled with sentences using countable or even uncountable nouns (our lesson for the month). Instead, the paper has a tracing of hand, and numbers which were intimately placed inside of it. I could only imagine that some kind of fortune telling magic was about to occur until I rudely interrupted them interrupting our lesson. I know, how rude of me. I twice pitter-pattered my knuckle on their shared desk. They looked up at me surprised that I had so quietly maneuvered my way to their desk and was now there to capture their focus. I gave them this look of “Hello :)” and then hit them with a “let’s get our books out and listen.” I walked back to the front of the room while my counterpart continued with the lesson.
Five minutes passed and wouldn’t you know it, there’s some magic being conducted in the back of the classroom. Picture the kids from these new-age horror films who’s parents told them not to play with the Ouija board inside the house, and then they did, and then they got caught but it was too late because they already let the ghost in. Yeah. These girls could have been cast for the roles of those kids. And today, I was both the parent who caught them and the ghost. I know, you’re thinking, “What a talent…two roles?” That’s some Eddie Murphy, Nutty Professor kind of stuff. Bravo Chandler.
I looked back at the girls thinking, “Whoa. Forreal? No magic, not in this classroom.” After a quick analysis, I figured my best bet was to go sit with them. So, I took my chair and did so. They quickly hid their magic hand paper and flipped their books to the appropriate page. I attempted to catch one of the girls up to be on pace with the rest of the class. The girl to my right was not catching on and didn’t seem to be trying to either. I checked in with the girl to my left. We went through a series of questions and each time I asked, “kuptoi?” (understand) in an effort to gauge her comprehension. My questions were met with a nod of her head. But I couldn’t tell if it was genuine or in an attempt to get me to stop asking questions; I pushed on anyways. I wrote the grammar rules on their papers, trying to present the same information in a different way. The girl to my left began to agree more. I encouraged her to volunteer to answer one of the questions out loud…and she did. Did she answer correctly? No, but she tried. I greeted her attempt with a crisp high-five for her effort.
Although I was sure I had fixed the original problem at hand, (I didn’t realize this pun until after editing this post and I actually laughed at myself here) I stayed longer to fix the new problem that had arosin, their level of comprehension. I continued coaching them for a while and then gathered my chair and headed back to the front of the room. Before leaving, I scooted the notebook which held the hand in it forward and gently shook my head no; it wasn’t touched for the remainder of the class.
The story doesn’t end here. As we prepared for the end of class, we ran through a list of questions. We asked for volunteers to answer. “1…2…” The list continued, with each question followed by an energetic student loudly cheering, “Teacher! Teacher!” A cry to be chosen to answer. At question 12, a student raised her hand. My counterpart and I looked at each other with a happy-shocked look on our faces. It was the girl who I had sat down next to, the one on my left. The one who prior to today had given English very little effort. She volunteered, and this time she was correct.
I left class today with a different outlook on teaching. I left class today with a little extra magic.
In a weird way, that piece of paper did contain some magic.