“Sa-wa-dee-ka khun khrue. Good mor-ning teach-ah!” they greet me robotically.
“Good morning my sweet little adorable munchkin cutie pie faces! Look at you! Look how cute you are. You’re the cutest in the whole world. Hello! Hello! Hi my little cuties!!” I fawn over them. They don’t know what I’m saying but I don’t care.
I teach ten classes of the youngest kids in the school (3-4 years old). I thought my grade 5 kids were cute, until I started teaching these little ones. Now you can fawn over them too! Six reasons why my little munchkins are the cutest in the land:
1. They wear their hair like this
2. They’re curious about my sparkly shoes and like to touch them. I think I’ve mentioned them before, but I wear sparkly, textured, jelly flats to school with little finger-sized gaps all across the tops of them. Sometimes when I’m teaching, if I walk up to the students or they wriggle close enough during circle-time, I’ll feel cold little fingers poking into my feet. They like the run their hands along my beaded anklet as well. Curious little munchkins, they are.
3. They love to color. Ah, who could forget the time I told them to draw an octopus on the back of their worksheets? I always tell them to draw on the backs of their worksheets when they’re finished because it fills up some more time during my hour-long lessons. I was teaching O: octopus, P: penguin, and Q: quiet. I told them to draw an octopus and proceeded to draw my own, warped cartoon-y octopus as an example. They were so inspired by the new assignment (usually I tell them to draw a face or a tree or something) that they ended up spending the majority of the lesson perfecting their O: octopi. Man, when 3-year-olds concentrate they can produce some pretty wonderful (and wonderfully hilarious) works of art.
4. They sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider song like this:
I will literally have them sing it three times in a row because I get such a kick out of it. I think the Thai teachers think I’m crazy, but, come on – you would do it too!
5. They speak to me in Thai with zero awareness that I have no idea what they’re saying. Sometimes I can infer what they mean (“I know you don’t have a pencil yet, just hold on, you’ll get one in a minute.”) but usually I can’t, so I just say “Okay” and smile. Sometimes this confuses them. But most of the time they seem satisfied with this answer. I bet it would actually be cuter if I could understand what they were saying. I can only imagine…
6. They repeat everything I say. I went into class one day and told the cuties I was sick: “Teacher M mai sabai.” Then I produced a little cough, which they all promptly copied with their own cute little simulated coughing sounds. The repeating-everything-I-say thing is a great ploy to get them to learn English. All I have to do is speak loudly and slowly and they will do the same – Look!! They’re speaking English now! They have no inhibitions – It’s great.