God’s Dessert


Some days are very taxing. Today was one of those days. I taught four first and second grade classes. Normally, I love the little kids. Brimming with energy and an eagerness to learn, they will attack any lesson plan with gusto. Occasional bouts of over-excitement can usually be reigned in, and there is always a guarantee of something cute and funny happening.

So what made today particularly trying? For some reason, there were at least three children in every class who felt compelled to interrupt continuously. Extremely rude manners flooded the air. It really hurts me to hear gang-member gutter-talk coming from the mouths of small children; I’m left wondering what kind of home life they have, and what kind of future they have.

Every time I have a load of troubles, God always tops it off with something sweet: like getting a little dessert after you’ve finished your turnips. And today was no different.

One child, who receives a lot of special care, has a tendency to cover his ears and run away from anyone who tries to speak to him. I have been told it is a form of autism. There are a few people at the school to whom he has adjusted, but even for them some harsh reactions can bubble to the surface. Personally, I had given up hope of him interacting with me normally, after numerous occurrences of him fleeing when I said hello. I did notice that whenever he does this there is a coy look underneath, that makes me think a lot of this is an act.

Today he was in his routine of lurking about the office – which is about half of his normal day – when he came close to me I looked over, said hello, and went back to my work. I glanced back and noticed he had retreated a bit, but was still nearby. Going back to my task at hand, I relied on my very wide peripheral vision to keep tabs on him. Next he went into a low crawl and was “sneaking up” on me. Once he got behind me, he stood up and shadowed me. I started turning my head back and forth and he shifted left and right to avoid being “found out”. I made lots of comments about my shadow, so it was pretty obvious we were playing a game at that point. Finally he “surprised” me with a poke in the back and a yell. I responded with a “startled” yelp – which garnered some disapproving glances from other teachers – and he scattered off laughing.

When he returned he stood – in view – and just stared at me. I tried a couple words, got a short response, waited awhile, and tossed a few more words out there. Things progressed and I think we probably spent a good 20 minutes or more chatting about winter break activities and sundry mundane things. I was pretty amazed that things were suddenly at this point. (I was also surprised that nobody else seemed to think anything of it.)

I return to that school on Monday… I wonder how it will play out then.


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