First, it should be noted that my shortcut was wholly unsuccessful. It still takes me about 20 minutes to bike to the train station. This is 16 minutes farther than I prefer to bike. But that is neither here nor there.
My favorite class (the three year old wild boy and adorable girl) were berserk again today, as expected.
To contrast, I had my class of three other three and four year olds for the first time today (all were absent my first Tuesday) and they were great. One girl talks the whole time in Japanese, but totally on topic from what I can understand. The boy is super eager to be there and answer the questions, and the last girl is shy and quiet. It didn't look promising when they came in, because the boy had a nosebleed and his mom was sticking kleenex up his nose. But she said he was fine (I was like, "are you sureeee?") and he had kleenex stuck up his nose the for the whole class. It looked uncomfortable, but he didn't seem to mind. The girls laughed at him at first, but they got over it quickly and the lesson went smoothly. My favorite thing to do with those kids was this series of verbal command flashcards. "Swim!" and they all lay on the floor and pretend to swim. By far the best is "Dance!" - three year olds are crazy good dancers.
After that very successful class (pat on the back, me) I had to do the same lesson plan with my "favorites". They both showed up 10 minutes early, of course. The girl got there first and waited quietly with her mother. Then I see the boy and his grandfather walking towards the door. The grandfather opens the door and steps in. The boy runs the other direction, back across the parking lot. Great. His grandfather drags him back in, and he climbs up by the window in the waiting room and hides. The girl goes into the classroom, puts her bag away, and gets ready to start. Makiko, the manager, and the grandfather work together to shove the boy into the classroom. It should be noted that the boy's pantlegs are wet. He didn't pee himself (thank god) but he'd gotten himself wet somehow. Once pushed into the classroom, he runs side to side around the room as Makiko blocks the door, and the girl and I sing the Hello song.
Then, despite his oddly damp clothing, he's suddenly participating in the lesson! I hand the kids fake fruit and veggies and ask "Do you like carrots? Do you like strawberries?" "Yes I do!" they both say! They pretend to eat them and give them back, laughing. We go through the alphabet cards, and I ask "Do you like bears?" "Do you like pigs?" "Do you like rabbits?" etc. and they are totally into it ("YES I DO!" they scream). I had discovered last week that the boy is afaid of the W-witch card and will run out of the room when he sees it, so I switched it for a different card. Around U he runs to the door. I skip V, call his name, and show him the new card. "W-Watch - see?" and he looks confused, then happy, and then comes back over! I give him the card. Then I shuffle the rest, hold them up, and whoever can say "U-Umbrella" etc. the fastest gets the card. Well they start off sitting about three feet away from me, but are so eager to get more cards that they move closer and closer until the girl is literally sitting on my foot, and the boy is trying to grab the cards out of my hands. That's more like it! I let the boy win, and he looks proud as we both clap for him afterwards. He is a little out of control the whole time, moving way more than necessary no matter what we're doing. He'll answer the questions, but be bending over touching his head to the floor and jumping side to side as he talks. Hey, at least he's paying attention! They sing (er, shout) the alphabet song and dance (more three year old dancing: priceless) and run around the room laughing and pointing to colors as I name them ("Find something blue!"). Unbelievably great.
Fast forward ten minutes. The girl is alone with me in the classroom, and the boy is in the waiting room not wearing pants.
I could tell I was losing the boy's attention. I had done all of the exciting action things ("Stand! Sit! Stand! Sit! Jump! Swim! Turn around!") and we'd sung a lot of songs (they both did I'm a Little Teapot and pretended to pour tea out of their spouts for me to drink: cute). But then I was supposed to do a lesson about body parts from a book. I held up the flashcards, the boy looked right at them, and I could tell he was thinking "eh." He was gone.
The girl and I finish the body parts lesson from the book, and the boy still hasn't come back into the classroom. I go into the waiting room to find the boy pantsless and the girl's mother putting his pants on top of the air conditioner (will that dry them?). I guess his damp pants had annoyed him so he took them off. He's hiding in his pull-ups under the manager's desk. I look at the boy, I look at Makiko, and I walk back into the classroom. I'm no help there. The girl and I start a coloring project and eventually Makiko plops the still-pantsless boy down in my classroom again. He sees we're coloring and he immediately gets out his crayons! We were drawing pictures of Humpty Dumpty to practice identifying body parts (Draw the arms! etc.) and who knew, but the boy is pretty great at drawing! I can barely get him to stop coloring long enough to sing the Goodbye song.
Here's the craziest part. The class ends, the girl leaves, and the boy, who mere minutes ago had made another run for it, is still in the classroom. He's CLEANING UP! And not his things, but mine! I stand there, dumbfounded, watching him. He stacks the flashcards. He takes the CD out of the CD player and puts it in it's case. He closes my attendance binder and puts it with the lesson books. Seriously? He's not looking for attention either, because I try to be like "Wow, that's so wonderful!" and he doesn't care. He just finishes what he's doing, says a quick goodbye, and goes into the hallway to meet his grandfather, who is standing there holding the boy's pants.
To sum up: escapes into parking lot, runs into walls, shouts alphabet, points to blue, dances, sheds pants, hides under desk, draws Humpty Dumpty, stays late, cleans up. And I thought the kid with kleenex shoved up his nose was exciting.