Okay – I’m a decade or so into this whole teaching artist gig and I’ve learned over the years that the smarter I get as a teacher the younger the kids I can work with. The beginning of the week Sara and I worked with the elementary kids at the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB).
Let me tell you – these little guys can be scary. They smell fear and will call you out in a heartbeat. There is nothing more humbling than being bent over a first grader helping the student with a piece of writing and them looking up and saying, “You breath stinks really bad!” or “You’ve got a lot of hair in your nose!”
Well luckily either my breath wasn’t too bad or the elementary students here are exponentially more polite than your average crop. I ran writing workshops with grades three, four and five and we had a great time. We worked on patterns in poetry and defining emotions. The elementary school librarian John kept the show rolling along smooth as possible and I even lent Sara a hand during an assembly for first graders.
Now I know better than to think three successful days with grade-schoolers makes me an expert with the missing tooth crowd – but I think I’m making progress.