Double Double Toil and These Kids Are Trouble

Authored by:
Danny S.

Danny S.

Every day when I walk into work I know to expect the unexpected. Each day is a new lesson in what kids are capable of. Having been a babysitter and nanny over the past 15 years, I have a lot of experiences with kids of all ages, but working in a building where I see 150 kids a day creates stories at an expedited rate. I've got a biter, a kicker, and a spitter. I have a girl who gives me kisses on my cheek every chance she gets, and a lot of huggers. I have kids that cry in every class I see them in, and ones that fall asleep. There are ones that understand what I'm saying and translate for the rest of the class, kids that run around instead of paying attention, toddlers who stare blankly at me when I speak, and a few kids that try to run out of the class any time they think no one is looking. For the most part, I really enjoy the kids I am with. There are a few that stand out though, for better or worse... (Since I can't take pictures of the kids, I've added some random sunset pictures. The sunsets here are the best I've ever seen.)

I can't take pictures of the kids, but this is a picture of the secondary school attached to my school

Nicole is my favorite of all the kids. She is in the 3 year old class and looks like my little cousin Lisette, so I immediately loved her. She seems to be one of the few kids that genuinely understands I do not speak Spanish. She reads me books in Spanish (no, she can't read yet). She explains things to me that she thinks I should know, and is always singing to herself. She smiles every time you look at her and is just such a precious little thing. She read to me a book and I learned that they do not have the Tooth Fairy in Spain, but instead El Ratoncito Perez. He is a little mouse that collects the teeth and leaves something instead.

Sunset from my balcony, with some added effect

Oscar is in the 5 year old class and moved from China at the beginning of the year from what I can tell. When I first started he wouldn't ever speak, and would stare blankly at the wall. He rarely interacted with any of the other kids unless he was poking them or something similar. Now he is much more interactive. He raises his hand to participate in English class and is speaking in Spanish sometimes with the other kids. Every time he gets something right, the whole class claps for him. They are so supportive and its really sweet to see. During assembly the other day, the kids were doing additon problems. The teacher asked anther kid "dos mas tres" and Oscar yelled "cinco!" The kids cheered and the teacher tried to find a way to be supportive but also she hadn't asked him. One girl in particular helps him during assembly time in the mornings. Laura is always holding his hand and whisper explaining things to him. I will be starting private lessons with her next month and I'm really excited. She doesn't understand much English, but is great at explaining things in Spanish to me. 

Puerta de Alcala

Maria is a girl in the 5 year old class who is doing one of two things each class. She is either crying in the corner near the mirror about something really stupid, or she's checking herself out in the mirror. As my roommate Callum said, the annoying ones are sometimes the hardest because you can't punish a kid just because they are obnoxious.  Sara is a girl in the 5 year old class. One day while they were lined up waiting for their teachers she got on one knee and said, "Danny, I love you. Te quieres casar conmigo". She then kissed my hand and hugged me. Mateo has the sweetest little face but cries any time you say his name because he thinks he is in trouble. He's probably crying 30% of the time. A group of boys in the 5 year old class hit me in the butt every time I walk by. Vivi and Sofia live on my way to work and occasionally I pass them on my commute. If I'm spotted they will grab my arm and not let go until their little fingers are forcibly removed.

The kids here are much more affectionate than I'm used to in the States. After recess the kids all line up outside the infantile building and wait for their teachers. Every day when I come back from my lunch and they are lined up, I disrupt the lines. The kids see me and flock to me. At least 20 kids jump out of line to come see me, hold my hand, kiss my hand, hug me, tell me a story about their sibling. The lunch people probably hate me! I try to get them back in line as quickly as possible though. The kids are also much more affectionate to each other. All the kids are always holding hands, touching each others faces, and kissing each other. Its all very sweet, but at the same time the kids are not well behaved on the whole. They scream a lot and wander the classroom, they sneak toys under their desks and sometimes try playing with them under the tables as well. Some of the kids do the opposite of what is asked of them every chance they get. I understand some kids are just ill behaved, but compared to the US, these kids are definitely worse. Trust me.

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