I have a 9 years old boy who apparently is going through a stage of being allergic to girls. If I ever mention a girl’s name or acquire anything about a girl in his class, literally, he would scream and run to the opposite direction. Sometimes, I wonder when this phrase is going to pass.
Yesterday morning in my level 2 class, I noticed a girl who was quite late. She’s a strong, outgoing, playful and happy girl. We have a good relationship together. I called her over and asked whether I could use her in my story. It was going to be someone who was late to school because on the previous night she stayed up too late doing something, therefore, she could not get up this morning… So she was late for school…
I figured students would help me to fill in all details.
I started the class by making a statement that Bee (not her real name) was late for school. I interacted with other kids first to find out whether they were late for school. If they were late, how they felt, or how other teachers reacted to it.
Then, I turned around and asked Bee, “Why were you late for school?” I paused for a second, then I started to offer answers: “Did you sleep over?” “Was it because nobody woke you up?” She shook her head and said, “No, it’s because my old brother…”
I immediately sensed this was going to be an even more interesting story than the original one I had planned. Quickly abandoned the original idea, I inquired more about her old brother, Sky (not his real name either). Sky is a local college student who visits home frequently. Whenever he does, Bee’s mom asks him to take Bee to school the next day.
As a result, Bee had a difficult time to wake her brother up to take her to school on time.
In Chinese, the action to wake up someone and the phrase you say when you wake up someone are different. The action word is “jiaoxing”, the word you say when you are waking someone up is “xingxing”. Since these are my targeted vocabulary, I stayed here to milk them.
Stepped out the story, I asked my class: “Who wakes you up in the morning?” Most kids said their own alarm clocks, one kid has three different alarms set up each morning. When I came to Lancaster, he said that his DAD woke him up in the morning. I stopped here to bring in different family members and relatives for a quick review, then I asked how his dad woke him up in the morning. As it turned out, his dad grabbed his feet and pulled him up till he was awake. We acted out that little mini-drama in class, then I turned back to Bee and asked how she tried to wake Sky up while I was also soliciting answers from the whole class.
“She turned on the light!” One shouted. “Did you turn on the light?” “Oh, yes, I did!” “Did he wake up?” “Yes, but I also yelled.” Bee said.
“No, no, no, in my story, you turned on the light while you yelled “xingxing – wake up”, but he didn’t wake up.”
The class laughed, Bee laughed as well. “What else did you do?”
“Oh, oh, she grabbed his feet and pulled him off the bed!” Just like Lancaster’s dad. “Oh, yes, you did, right? But, did you wake him up?”
Looking around, I asked my class whether they’d like to know how I wake up my son each morning. They always love to hear stories about my son. Of course, I made them guess first. In their mind, they pictured me to be this angelic mother who rubs her son’s back gently, whispers into his ear and slowly wakes him up.
No, that’s not how my son’s morning goes each day, I inform them.
“Guys, here is how: I open his door first, then open his curtains, after that, I go downstairs to make breakfast for him, when the breakfast is close to be ready, I start to yell from downstairs to upstairs. Would anyone like to act out how I would yell?”
Now, my whole class were standing on their toes.
After that episode, I returned our attention back to the story, how did Bee eventually wake up Sky?
The class suggested to pour water on his face, punch him, bring food…. different kind of food…
Nothing worked, because I had something else in mind.
Finally, I said: Well, it just occurred to Bee that Sky has a secret. What is his secret?
After some good guesses, I announced:”He is allergic to girls! If Bee starts to say girls’ names, he would wake up immediately!”
Nobody was expecting that was coming. I smiled and gave thanks to my son.