When I first arrived at Dandelion and met my homeroom teacher, she laughed with delight and gave me a hug. I remember the excitement that I felt when I saw her broad smile, and my worries that I would have difficulties with my teacher slowly began to melt away. However, new worries arose when I realized that my homeroom teacher could not speak or understand English well. I wanted to get to know her better, and judging by the way that she would approach me and start up conversation, I think she wanted to get to know me better, too. But the language barrier made conversation awkward and difficult.
Even though we cannot speak to each other easily, I have tremendous respect for her in the way that she treats her students and in the way the students treat her. One Sunday, a week after we arrived, the seventh graders went to watch an opera together. However, our class stayed at the school and studied. I stayed at the school with them and asked our teacher if I could have a few minutes at the end of the day to play games. She agreed, and so at 8:30 PM, when the students were done with their homework and study time, I ran to get glow stick bracelets, and soon enough, all of us had glowing wrists.
I hadn’t exactly thought things through past handing out the glow sticks, and so when we went outside to play, all the students were just running around gleefully. It was our homeroom teacher who organized the kids, telling the kids with the same color wristbands to get together and form “teams” and capture the other teams’ bracelets. The students chased each other around, ran to our teacher while waving captured glow sticks in the air, and even hid behind her as a shield. It looked and felt like she was the mother of 39 kids.
As I watched the kids running all around her, I realized that her relationship with the students, one of comfort and care, but also of awareness of authority, is one that I strive for, as well. Especially since I have been having difficulty handling the kids’ boundless energies, I want to be able to fly above the entropy of the class and find some form of order like she does.
It has been only recently that conversation with my homeroom teacher has become easier. I have learned more about her background, her life, her personality, and her knowledge of the students. In the weeks to come, I am eager to get to know her even better and become even closer to her. And as time passes and I see her with the students more, I hope I will learn more about how to attain that perfect balance between authority and friendship and that ability to create order.