Though I like to refer to my remaining three students as my, “littles,” this really only refers to their age. They are by no means little. Between the three, they have big eyes, big hair, a big vocabulary, big imagination, big smiles, big tears and BIG personalities. Though they can make teaching (older kids) a challenge, they brighten my day an insurmountable amount and I am going to miss having them in my class when we grow and split my class into two In January. Meet the littles…
Dylan turned three just a few weeks into the school year. He is a tiny, little guy, and for the most part, pretty quiet. Until just a couple of weeks ago, he would rarely speak, in English or Kinyarwanda, and often seemed to be in a constant daze. He was content watching others, his big eyes glazed over, without participating or interacting. It has been so fun to see Dylan come out of his shell. He is full of energy now, and loves to run around laughing and growling. He is still content playing independently and can hold a (constant) conversation with himself in his own mumbly growly language whenever I am trying to teach or read a story. He loves to watch the older boys in our class and is sometimes brave enough to join in their rowdy games…but he is very much still a baby, and if something doesn’t go his way…get ready for some crocodile tears. I think the other students are growing concerned with how easily I go on like nothing is wrong, despite his wailing. According to Dylan’s parents, he now insists on being addressed by his American name (same spelling, different pronunciation). So, I guess he likes school. And his proud grin after doing something all on his own, is priceless. Also, those eyes.
This girl has a lot goin’ for her, and she is a sweet, fun loving girl, but man can she pout. In the beginning, I had a hard time not laughing when she didn’t get her way…she can cross those arms, stick out her chest… and that lip. She’s got some lip. Like most of my students though, she has grown and changed a lot in these few short months. I actually can’t remember the last time I saw her strut around to let others know she was unhappy. For the past month, she has been nothing but giggles and smiles. She is very playful, and also very nurturing. Though she is not one to sit and listen herself, she becomes very distraught when other students are being too wild or aren’t following rules, and she’s not afraid to take action in letting them know. KeKe speaks French, and until recently, refused to even attempt words in English. No matter how many times you tried to get her to repeat words, she would only reply with, “oui,” as she raised her eyrbrows. She now not only repeats English, but can say several things on her own, one of her most common phrases being, “Miss Mary, one big, big, BIG, push please,” which she shouts from the swing that she would sit on all day if I let her. In her little French accent, it’s hard to deny this request, and I rarely do.
Even though VVA is an International school with several American students…. my youngest student, Julia is the only fair skinned, blond haired child in our class. Unfortunately for her, the other kids are fascinated with these features and don’t allow her much personal space at school. This caused Julia to be somewhat stand off-ish for quite some time, but she is learning to stand her ground now, and between her vocabulary, English skills and bright mind, you wouldn’t know that she is the youngest. She is from Spain and speaks Catalan (and a lot of English). She has the smallest, high-pitched voice I have ever heard, and though she loves to speak and sing at inconvenient times…I must admit, I love to listen to her ramble in her distinct little voice (when it’s not distracting other kids). I know that kids are sponges at this age, but I am still amazed at how quickly she has picked up English…among other things. I’m sure this is due to good, active parenting. Until she speaks Catalan (which is not very often anymore) you would never know that English is not her first language. Despite being very bright and very verbal, she also loves to be silly and joke around. She can also be demanding (she is part of the “Miss Mary, push me!” swing posy), and still likes to test her boundaries at times. That’s just part of being a two year old. But spelling and writing your name? I don’t think that’s a normal part of being two. She spells her name for me on a daily basis, and yes, she attempted to write her name yesterday, and was fairly successful in creating the general form of all the letters.
Well, hopefully this gives you a glimpse into the diverse personalities that make up my preschool class. They are really an awesome group of kids, and I’m sure you would love them as much as I do if you could meet them in person. They just assume that any muzungu visitor is there for the sole purpose of playing with them…and if given the opportunity, they will waste no time in wrapping their arms around you.