They say this story should be made into a movie. Their tears were robbed, you see. Then while crying, they burst out laughing.
The kids are why many teachers do what they do. The kids are why many teachers remain in the education service. The kids are why teachers cry. Why they laugh. Why they don’t sleep and stay up planning lessons. Why they find 1001 ways to motivate. Why they care and why they don’t care. Well, they don’t teach…teach. They are teachers in the education arena.
Below is a short account when I did not know whether to cry or laugh.
By the way, did you find the title familiar? I read Louis Sachar’s “There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom” with my class one year. That same year, I was welcoming a new pupil. I remember seeing my two boys crane their neck and were all ears to my introduction of our new addition to our class. Never had they been so attentive!
“6B, I would like you to welcome Shuang to our class. Rachel and Stephanie shall be her buddies,” I had announced, and gestured Shuang to sit next to Rachel. I caught the moment when Anuar gave Alan an eyebrow raise which he returned and I made a mental note to warn these two cheeky boys about keeping their hospitality towards pretty girls at bay.
I would remember this story told to me, the girls’ version.
During recess, Rachel and Stephanie played hosts in marvellous ways. They showed Shuang around the school, trying their best o help put her at home. Shuang was actually one year older and she had just come from China.
One of the ‘nice’ boys, Elvis, followed the three girls everywhere, extending his fair share of hospitality by providing information on our class. Shuang was seemingly entertained and amused at the vivid descriptions of her new classmates. She then asked where the toilet was. Without hesitation, Elvis volunteered to show her the way. Rachel and Stephanie were busy eating so they indulged him. As Elvis and Shuang approached the toilets, Elvis saw Alan and Anuar stepping out of the classroom, with me just behind them. What perfect timing! In Elvis’s panic-stricken state, he pulled Shuang along with him into the boys’ toilet.
Of course, I knew Elvis’ mind would be racing with thoughts of all of us witnessing him with Shuang and the sniggering that would follow and last for months. That was when I heard an ear-piercing scream that rocked my train of thoughts.
“There’s a girl in the boys’ toilet!”
Alan and Anuar heard the scream, rushed into the toilet and one could only imagine to what extent their mouths were agape and their jaws dropped at the sight of Shuang and Elvis.
See the hearts of the kids whom you teach. Do not be quick to discipline or punish. Because I saw Elvis’ good heart, he was not punished for bringing a girl into the boys’ toilet. However, all the kids were still given teachable moments on what it means to respect one another and cultivate healthy relationships as boys and girls. No beyond-the-board teasing.