I set my students to task, their little brains between the ages of six and twelve whirring furiously to complete the blanks on page 30. As always, my low-level students are scribbling a letter to an imaginary pen pal, who may or may not be one of the illustrated characters in the front of the book. It’s not even clear to me to whom they should be pretending to write.
Nature calls. Yes, even teachers sometimes have a little too much tea in the effort to be entertaining in class. My heart sinks, thinking of the chaos that inevitably broke out each time I had to step out of a classroom in my school in Chile last year (and honestly, the unique chaos that broke out every time I entered the classroom there as well). I instinctively look around for anything sharp or weapon-like, also hoping not to see anything the rolled-up poster Ezekial once used to terrorize his classmates that day the puppy got into the Escuela 5.
Very slowly: “Teeeeachher (point to self, questioning tone, wait for acknowledgment)….wiiilll…be riiiiiiight back…”
Four little voices: “Ok.”
I leave the classroom and peek back in the door to check that they are still working before jogging down the hall to the restroom. I imagine the scene when I return…tables overturned, students climbing furniture, little Ezekial somehow transported from 2nd grade in Puerto Natales to chase my Korean students.
No noise from the hallway. I open the door.
All the students are in their seats, silently writing. They finished the original task and moved on to the next page without instruction. I’m transfixed for a moment by the silence, by the sight. A teacher’s miracle.
“Teacher,” one little girl says, raising her hand. “Teacher, finished.” She holds up her book to be graded, pages 30 and 31 filled out completely. Out of the reverie and back to teaching.