Party Like A Monkey

“I feel grumpy.” I had said that morning when it was my turn, and a lot of the kids had followed my lead. In the midst of our grumpy group, I thought about the monkeys who had passed by me earlier and I announced, “We will have a party!”

My classroom was filled with fun and laughter, as well as learning. Most of my twelve kids looked to be between six and eight years old, but there were two girls who were older as evidenced by their height and maturity.

Teaching this class was an exercise in spontaneous creativity. Daily brainstorms came to me about how and what to teach. One morning, I hadn’t slept well and felt off as I walked past the mango orchard towards the red brick hostel and school perched at the edge of the forested jungle. Monkeys stole mangos every day and three of them, carrying their loot, ran right past me that morning.

“The monkeys are having a mango party in the forest.” I thought to myself.

When I arrived at my classroom, all the kids were dressed in their blue and white checked shirts with matching shorts or skirts and were sitting at the tables waiting for me. I wrote six words on the chalkboard; happy, silly, grumpy, sad, sleepy, and angry. Then I acted out each word, to the total delight of my students. They especially loved when I acted out grumpy and angry. Apparently, I was very funny.

Then, one by one, they would tell us all which word came closest to describing how they were feeling that day and I’d tally it up with marks on the board. This exercise every morning made feeling bad okay and even fun.

“I feel grumpy.” I had said that morning when it was my turn, and a lot of the kids had followed my lead. In the midst of our grumpy group, I thought about the monkeys who had passed by me earlier and I announced, “We will have a party!”

Oh the kids loved that. “It can happen tomorrow after lessons. “I told them. “I will buy snacks and juice when I go to town this afternoon.” The rest of our day was spent making colorful party hats out of construction paper. After they wrote their names on the hats, school was dismissed.

That afternoon, I learned that my tallest student, Passang, and her little sister, Sonam Chukie, had lost both their parents to tuberculosis only three weeks ago.

It meant a lot to me that over the weeks I had been their teacher they had sometimes chosen to identify with the words, happy, silly and sleepy and not only sad, grumpy and angry.

Life can be so hard. These children, being happy in the face of painful circumstances, saved themselves and me too.

Spread the Love

Be the first to reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *