Monday, February 16, 2009

Big Mistake

All my students - even the young ones - come equipped with white out, whiteout tape, chunky erasers, and all matter of blot-out contraptions. This irritates me because the kids have a way of toying with them and/or wasting time meticuously correcting the tiniest errors. Nonetheless, they all have them. And today I found out why come:

It's the first week back to regular curriculum after the Chinese New Year holiday. I decided to have a practice quiz for my 7-year-olds to gauge what they remembered from three weeks ago.

"Quiz time, students! Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or pen."

"But Miss Leslie IS BROKEN!"

Jane raises her whiteout dispenser to my face.

"It's okay. You don't need it."

"No! I need! I go downstairs and get new -

"No. You don't need it. It's ok. Sit down."

Jane looks distressed.

"Jane, look - just cross something out if you make a mistake and start over." I demonstrate this on her paper.

Gregory, Jane's classmate, is spurred to action.

"I give you!" He heroically thrusts his whiteout contraption in her direction.

"No, Gregory put that down. It's okay. We don't need to use that today. Jane can just cross out her mistakes and so can you."

Tears are brimming in Jane's eyes.

"Miss Leslie, if I ... (she makes a cross-out motion on her paper) ... my mom hit me."

For clarity, she demonstrates slapping her own back.

"Hey, hey, it's okay. This is just practice."

"You say is quiz!"

"It's a practice quiz!"

"But my mom..."

"We won't tell your mom! It's okay! Don't worry!"

She wiped her eyes. Telling Jane that this practice quiz was going to stay between the two of us, and not involve mom, finally calmed her down.

If I had to pick a theme song for the school-aged children of Taiwan, it would be Under Pressure by Queen.

Jane will probably have gray hairs before she hits puberty.

1 comment:

MitMoi said...

Wow! I cannot imagine what it must feel like to be them. And it's not like they've become a "super" nation with all that added stress. Too bad there isn't some happy middle ground between US slaker-happy and Taiwan tight-blood-pressure-popping stress, eh?

**ps: clearly I don't think ALL U.S. students are slackers ... but ... well ... I went to Arizona State. 'nough said.