I’ve yelled at them, spanked them and torn their homework apart. I’ve seen their faces crumple when I’ve struck my red pen across their careless words. I’ve used their words against them. I’ve seen them wipe away silent tears at each of my harsh words.
I’ve seen their faces glow the few times I’ve written a “Good” in their notebooks. I’ve seen them go delirious with joy after having done well in a test. I’ve seen them blush upon receiving an applause from the rest of the class or in the assembly.
I’ve seen the relief and wonderment on their faces when they finally “get” a concept I’ve been trying to feed into their heads for almost a fortnight. I’ve seen them dash out of the classroom each evening even before I’ve completed saying goodbye.
Every morning they are falling over each other to wish us a good morning and relieve our hands of all the books and papers. We hear them shriek even before we can even spot them, almost like a game of hide and seek. And in that moment, all is right with the world.
It scares me how much they trust me. How they hanker for my approval. How they seek my permission for the smallest of things like sharpening a pencil or throwing trash in the bin. How quickly their lips begin to quiver when I raise my voice.
I beam with pride each time these champs find a mistake in my work. I also want to shake them up thoroughly for believing in me so much. I want to tell them to try and figure out their own answers. I want them to learn how to fold the pages of their exam sheets on their own and draw straight lines without calling out to me in utter desperation.
I want to tell them that the world can be theirs, if only they want it!
And when their hesitating eyes meet mine for an affirmation in the harsh sun of the morning assembly, the heart turns to mush. I only wonder how I got so lucky.