Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sophomore Year

Gretchen has begun her second of four years of Taiwanese bilingual kindergarten education. This morning was the first time that she woke up with the chickens and rode to school with Daddy--and it was not a quiet morning in the Batt household. Eventually we got here and the crying trailed off and she was on her way.

The junior high school where I teach is linked by a bridge to the elementary school and it's multiple playgrounds. The two schools together probably have about 1000 students in total, and among the teachers who work with them, there are a handful that have children enrolled in the kindergarten 2km away, so the school has arranged a shuttle bus to take the kids from here to there. Up until this morning, Gretchen's beauty sleep has taken precedence.

Yesterday, though, Maggie drove her to school in the morning, and Gretchen rode the bus back at 4:30 and she Franklin and I had the evening to ourselves to do with what we would.  But first, the playground.

 There are three separate playgrounds at the school. This one is shaped like a pirate ship and is in a sort of an open atrium. About twenty-five meters behind this one, at the other end of the classroom buildings is another one build for slightly bigger kids.

There's hopscotch, swings, and monkey bars. Beyond there is a basketball court and a track. Gretchen wanted to go on the swings after awhile, so we decamped to the north and swung like crazy.

Some of my junior high school students were playing basketball, and some others were giggling and trying to get the attention of one of the boys on the court. This went on for awhile and didn't have the desired effect of making the boy come over and propose marriage.

The girls thought Gretchen and her brother were the cutest thing they'd ever seen. When Franklin stated calling "Daddy" looking for a push on the swing, one of the girls, a student of mine, started calling me Daddy. The sort of thing that makes a junior high school teacher immediately feel a little nervous.

She went on talking to me, sometimes in Chinese, which I tried my best to ignore, and sometimes in English, which I tried to encourage. At some point, I mistakenly answered a Chinese question and she called me "Bad Teacher" for speaking Chinese.

Gretchen was having none of it. She jumped up on the step between us and started wagging her finger in the girl's face and told her--repeatedly--that she was a Bad Student. And when it was time to go, Gretchen picked up her umbrella and shot the girl point blank.

Add this to the neck massages and butterfly kisses and I am the luckiest Dad in the world.

1 comment:

Marion said...

Dear Gretchen, I loved your "First Day of School" pictures! What a lovely young lady you have become! My 1st teacher was Miss Jardine. Her father was a cousin of MY father....I thought she was rather special. I hope you like your teacher. My teacher had 2 big dolls. I still remember their names, Raggedy Andy & Raggedy Ann. Do you have dolls in your classroom? LOVE, MAINEly Me