Over the past few days, I have spent a lot of time with 4 and 5 year olds, and it’s very fascinating how people just don’t change from then on. There are the tattletales (oh my goodness, are there a lot of tattletales in Chang Long’s 中班! — Teacher, he push and I say “Say sorry to me!” and he no say!), the quiet workers, the power-mad dictators, the helpful and friendly types, and my favorite: the heroes.
Last Monday, I observed this middle class for the second time. Many of them remembered my name from a few weeks ago, when I observed them in preparation for my first kindergarten teaching ever, so I was touched. A few of them even came up and asked me questions in the “run and practice with your friends” part of the class. On Wednesday, I taught and observed (the teacher who was leaving on vacation wasn’t going until late in the evening, so she came in to give me even more ideas and to get paid for 2.5 more hours), and they were still little angels. In fact, I spent a lot of time trying to smother laughter because they were just so cute playing dodgeball and freeze tag. Freeze tag was especially hilarious because as soon as they were tagged, they stood spread-eagled and bawled “Help me! Help me!” until someone came to free them. I wish I’d taken video!
Freeze tag is not a game I ever thought I would use to assess character, but Bonnie is not just a bossy 5 year old; she’s a loyal little hero and tactical mastermind. She saves all the kids, even the irritating ones like Nick. She sizes up how close “It” is before she dives under someone’s legs, and if she might get caught, she rockets off and makes a second pass. Most of the other kids only save friends, and some can’t even manage that. They’re content to run and yell, which is not a bad thing, but the contrast is amusing.
Two children who should be carefully followed in the future because they will become powerful political forces (for good or evil) or petty middle-managers: Alice and Angel. They were the little teachers in the two classes I observed on Monday, and the power shot straight to their heads! To be fair, though, they don’t need the title to be bossy, as I’ve seen in following classes. Some kids take the little teacher title and do nothing but lead the class to the bathroom, but those two micro-managed how the class was sitting and took initiative to propose games and activities.
This really makes me wonder how I was at this age. I suspect I was pretty bossy which implies outgoing, but if so, what happened?!