Me just ended a 3-day training with my ex-kindergarten from 8 am to 5.30 pm. Suffice to say, kindergarten teachers DO NOT get the credit they deserve ! You need a hell a lot of patience and skill to deal with these children. They can smell fresh meat and bully you like nobody's business. But I've gotta admit, I'm already missing some of them. Total irony.
Day 1 - scary.
I was one of 3 trainees there that day, me, a malay lady and another chinese lady. The trainer, i.e. the supervisor was an epitome of what and how a teacher, especially of small children should be. Stern when need be and yet filled with compassion that can only arise from a deep soulful love for these little bundles of terror. Over 70 plus of bundles between 2 1/2 years to 6 in the taska. By mid-day, some teachers would complain of headaches,inclusive of moi as yours truly came home with the biggest headache you could ever imagine. Had padawan later that evening too. I was super amazed how they could just rattled off the kids' names without missing a beat. 99% of them speak in Mandarin so you can understand my predicament. Fortunately, I was able to understand them a little and communicate with them in a mixture of Mandarin and English. When I wasn't to sure, off to another teacher for translation!
Day 2 - nerve-wrecking but bearable.
I had to conduct a few periods of classes meself, albeit with the Supervisor at hand. Had 2 story-telling sessions, one of Peter Pan and one on a moral story of some sort. Their attention span were extremely short, there would be a few of them who are very talkative, receptive and jovial while one or two, especially boys, would chase each other around the class. Chased, hit and cried. "Teacher, he beat me!"
"No ar..he beat me first wan la!"
And, I became Teacher 'Maggie Mien', for no apparent reason.
Oh man, I was awed when I heard this group of 5-6 year olds singing 'lau shu ai ta mi' aka 'the rat that loves rice' and 'tong hua', erm..'fairytale'?. My jaw was hanging.Paiseh betul!
Day 3 - bittersweet.
It was obviously psychology at play. Knowing fully well that this is the last day of training, my step was a little bit lighter and the kids a little more cuter. This time, I had to conduct classes the whole day and learn about some paperwork. The earlier classes didn't work out as planned as there was this new girl who was practically stuck to me like glue. She was there with me while I was at the front leading the songs, sitting on my lap during story telling and held my hand where ever I went. Crying for mummy. Mummy did come eventually. All the teachers were friendly and willing to help. I guess it's because everyone understands fully well how pivotal it is to have an extra pair of hands to catch that mischievous fellow.
It's amazing how you can witness life's little miracles and man's goodness through a child's eyes in a noisy taska.
There was this little boy, let's say boy A, who sat beside another sleeping boy during nap time, holding a bottle of milk. He was adamant on staying put and absolutely refused to budge to return to his sleeping mat. A while later, the sleeping boy woke up and boy A gently asked if he wanted to drink his milk. After passing the bottle to him, only then did boy A trotted to his own mattress to have his nap. Now, if that's not friendship, I don't know what is.
It is indeed heartwarming to see big brothers (though they themselves are little in size) or big sisters for that matter, taking care of their younger siblings. Holding their hands, playing and laughing with them and even accompanying the younger 'uns who couldn't sleep.
Blood is indeed thicker.
Truly an experience to cherish. No matter that I come home, in the words of my father, looking 'like i wanna die'.
I wouldn't trade it for the world.