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六月有奖征文:My Foreign Teacher and Me

作者:MARYSEL HUNDANA NICOLAS | 来源:海丽达四季花城园

    We have a saying among us English Teachers that it is preferable if the Chief Teacher or Assistant Teacher will be absent but not the Life Teacher.

           The works of the Life Teacher is very exhausting. She checks if the kids have eaten their fruits or drunk their milk. She prepares the lunch and snacks of the kids by fetching the food from the kitchen. She is lucky if the classroom is in the first floor but if it is the 2nd or 3rd floor – goodluck! – for most of the time the food containers were very heavy with food. She maintains the cleanliness of the classroom – from floor to ceiling. She has to make sure that the cupboards, tables, desk, chairs, beds or toys were all clean and dusted. And the floor was moped and the glass windows were free from smudges. Moreover, she scrutinizes the kids grooming like the fingernails and helps them in changing clothes after playing. Also, she watches the kids during afternoon nap and checks the kids if they started to feel unwell. Aside from all of these duties, she also assist the other teachers in teaching the kids how to fix their beds and change their clothes by themselves. They are like Wonder Woman to me. They are the Super Mom in the classroom. But they are usually the underrated and most of the time unappreciated teacher in the classroom.

           This is why I really admire Ms. Ling. And she is the reason why I am writing this piece.

            It was the month of August 2007 when I arrived in China. I was a newbie – it was my first time to leave my country to work on another land. It was not just working in another country, it was also experiencing a different culture and hearing a different language.

            I was so apprehensive on my first day in school. I was thinking will my classroom co-teachers understand me since I didn’t speak any word or phrase in Mandarin. But all my apprehension were erased when I met my co – teachers. They were all kind and tried their best in explaining the classroom routines in their broken English. However, the one that really caught my attention was the smiling and understanding face of Ms Ling. She was our Life Teacher. I really felt close to her since I can feel her sincerity in caring the children and her respect towards her colleagues especially to a newbie and foreigner teacher like me. She didn’t talk much. If she wanted to say something to me she would asked help from my Chief Teacher. But her smile showed kindness. So I never felt aloof towards her.

           We’ve been colleague for 9 years and she’s been my Life Teacher for 7 years and counting. It is always a pleasure working with her. I had worked with other Life Teachers. And I can say I like them all. They were also hardworking, caring, friendly and fun to work with. But Ms. Ling is really the closest one in my heart. In short, she is my favorite Life Teacher (a Teacher’s pet J).

             Ms. Ling is one of the oldest Life Teacher in our school. The other one is Ms. Yao. Being the veteran Life Teacher, she knows all the tricks of the work. For all the years that we have been together she never lost her cool in dealing with mischievous kids and busy bodies teachers.  She has this always ready smile to everyone she meets. And a very calm and soft voice in greetings her colleagues and in talking to the kids. But when she is mad, she would use her stern and calculating voice with matching open-wide eyes to remind the children that they are misbehaving.

             The children love her. They would hug her tight and even played jokes with her. She has this twinkle in her eyes every time she fools around with the kids. The children know when she is angry or just joking around. Some children would even cuddle her to appease her when she get mad at them for not following her instructions like time to drink water or eat their fruit or for a bed undone. I never seen a child hate her. Maybe because they know that she is doing things or reprimanding them for their own good.  As the same time, as she is strict with the kids she is also free in giving hugs to them.

             As she is good with the kids and in maintaining the cleanliness in the classroom, she also has a good relationships with her colleagues and co-teachers in the classroom. Having her as a Life Teacher for a long time, I observed that she never asked for help unless it is necessary and needed. She would do things on her own as long as she can handle it. She would even help her co-teachers in their work if she has the spare time. She is very accommodating, friendly and not a whiner. What I really appreciate from her is that when she saw that everyone was busy, and I was left to tend to the kids, she would stop what she was doing and help me in watching and guiding the kids. Once I saw her read a storybook to the kids while the other teachers were busy decorating the classroom or doing paper works. I can sense that she never limits herself to just the duties of a Life Teacher, she is also considerate to her co-teachers situation.

           Being with her for 7 years and counting, she made me realize that there is no small roles or duties. People would sometimes look down at a Life Teacher but to be honest, they do the arduous job in school. Their presence in the classroom can make a difficult day a little better (I am not really into mopping the floor and washing the cups and spoons).

         Hence through this piece, I would like to say my deepest gratitude to Ms. Ling and to other Life Teachers, for their hard work, care for the children and camaraderie to us. You have made our work day bearable and enjoyable. 

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