I never realized how sweet, mindful, bizarre, crazy and fascinating kids can be. I have worked with kids my whole life, but I have to say that working in an Israeli school teaching Israeli children has really given me a new perspective on the enigma that is children. Here are some charming stories of my day to day interactions with a few of my students.
There’s a girl in the 6th grade named Mai and she is so funny. At least once a week, she asks me a question about Israeli vs. American pop culture. She comes up to me (usually while I’m in the middle of a lesson with another class) and says “Eh, Kira…you know that in Israel (insert pop culture reference here)” For example, last week she got new glasses and I told her that they look nice. Oh, and by the way, Israelis don’t have any concept of personal space. So I compliment her new glasses and she gets right in my face and says “Eh, Kira…you know that in Israel these glasses are very popular.?” I’m not entirely sure if she meant for that to be a statement or a question because she said it like it was a fact, but then cocked her head to the side as if to indicate that it required a yes or no in response.
Some of my previous conversations with Mai have gone like this:
Mai: “‘Ello Kira. ‘Ow are you?”
Me: “Hi Mai. I’m good. How are you?”
Mai: “Eh, Kira…you have facebook?”
Disclaimer: Now I know you’re not supposed to lie to kids, but no way am I inviting my students into my personal life. So I decided that it’s best to just tell that I don’t have a facebook.
Me: “No, I don’t Mai”
Mai: *cocks her head to the side* “You no have facebook? Eh, but in Israel everyone has facebook. Is magniv!"
Another funny conversation we’ve had is:
Mai: ”’Ello Kira. ‘Ow are you?“
Me: "Hi Mai. I’m good. How are you?”
Mai: “Eh, Kira…you like dance at discoteka?"
Any day that I don’t get to talk to Mai is a sad day for me. Her genuine curiosity and her ability to absorb new information is truly amazing. She is a funny and kindhearted girl, and I know that she will be an amazing woman some day.
Last week, a girl in the 4th grade, named Avigail (the Hebrew version of Abigail) came up to me and said, in a very serious tone of voice, "Kira. I have a question for you.” Now, had Avigail approached me so earnestly a few months ago, I would have expected something significant. But in the past few months, I’ve gotten over that. So here’s how our conversation went:
Avigail: “Kira. I have a question for you”
Me: “Ok. What’s your question?”
Avigail: “Kira, you have husband?”
Me: * intensely shake my head no* “No! I’m too young!”
Avigail: *sternly looks me in the eye* “But Kira, you need husband. Is very important.”
Now I don’t know what the average age is for young girls to start their Jewish mother training, but if you ask me, 4th grade is way too young. Next thing I know, Avigail will be guilt tripping me into eating too much food just like any good Jewish mother.
The girls of the 4th grade
The dynamics of one of the 4th grade classes are incredible to watch. I love that class, but too often, the boys are yelling and fighting and the girls are crying. There are 3 girls in that class that consistently are able to keep themselves calm and, though they do yell along with the rest of the class, are very even tempered and sweet. One of the girls, named Fior-El, is such a sweetheart. Every day she comes up to me and says “Kira, you so byuuuuutiful.” Her friend, Yuval hugs me at least twice a day and, with puppy dog eyes, says, “Kira, I love youuuu.” The third girl, Hila, has started me calling me “Kirush.” In Israel, it is common to add -ush to someone’s name to make it a nickname. Every time I see the three of them, I’m besieged with hugs, compliments, endearing nicknames, and high fives. It is absolutely impossible to be anything but jovial when I am in that class, even if the kids fight and sometimes ignore Rozit or me while we are teaching. I have my days where I would rather be anywhere but at work, but these girls are able to make me so grateful and happy to be exactly where I am.
Today was Sports Day at my school. The whole school, minus the 1st and 2nd graders, participated in fun games and activities. It was so much fun! For the first 2 hours of the day today, each class competed in physical activities and tried to earn as many points as they could for their class. It was really cool to see the kids all work together and bond. Don’t get me wrong- there was still plenty of mayhem, but the kids and teachers all had fun.
In other news, things are still going really well here! My parents are coming to visit next month and I’m so excited to show them around! Hopefully after reading this blog post, they won’t be scared to come to my school and meet my students…
I booked my return flight back to the U.S. and I get back home on July 1st, so I better see everyone this summer! I’m so sad at the thought of leaving, but I know that I’ll be back in Israel before I know it. This place has become too big a part of me that I won’t be able to stay away from it for too long. But I’m so excited to see all of y’all Texans again!