As a speaking exercise I asked my TOEFL students what their favorite movies were and why. One said Avatar, of course, and when I pressed the class to tell me the movie’s main theme they were able to answer “protect our environment,” to my earnest surprise (I honestly half expected that the Chinese dubbing re-branded the Na’vi as the Chinese and the evil corporate soldiers as America. Whoops.)

One student answered that Mr. Bean was his favorite movie. When pressed to answer what the movie taught him, he said Mr. Bean’s someone to learn from because he, “sees the world like a child.” A surprisingly nuanced observation with which I couldn’t agree more.


I took on a new kindergarten class today, with mixed results. About five of the kids came into the classroom bawling (not altogether – it was a staggered approach). One kid would come in with the waterworks turned on and trigger the emotional breakdown of another toddler or two. Most of the kids were, thankfully, able to keep it together for their first day of English-language schooling, but I couldn’t help feeling bad for them as they pressed their little hands to their ears to drown out the chorus of wailing.

By the end of class every student had come around, most notably one little boy in the back of the room who’d come in in tears, been befriended by the little boy in front of him (there’s nothing cuter than seeing tiny children holding hands, walking around with each other), and finally came around to my tickling with big laughs. And also he tore up every page of stickers accompanying his workbook and put them all over the walls. So cute!


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