In my first year of teaching, I had a class of two kindergartners, a boy and a girl. Let’s call them S-kun and M-chan, respectively. They got along okay, and liked driving me nuts because I didn’t know how to handle two five year olds who just wanted to play games. (I still don’t, but that’s not the issue here.)
About six months into teaching these guys, a third, older girl entered the picture. She was six years old and we’re going to call her Y-chan. Y-chan was a blunt, to-the-point sort of girl with strong shoulders who was ready to Work with a capital “W”. She answered everything I said in English in full sentences and liked singing the songs we learned outside of class, embarrassing her mother thoroughly in public. The other two kids seemed to tolerate her okay, but all of that changed one fateful day.
S-kun was sick, leaving the two girls to work with me in class, and M-chan was worried for her friend. She was subdued during the lesson as a result.
Next class, S-kun was back, a bit sniffly but none the worse for wear. He walked into the room and M-chan lit up like it was Christmas, preparing to greet her good buddy. Then, this happened:
M-chan: :D! :D! :D!
S-kun: ….Huh? Wait, where’s Y-chan?
Me: She’s sick today, she isn’t coming.
M-chan: :D…. 🙂
S-kun: *ignoring M-chan* Oh no! Is she okay?
M-chan: 🙂 …. …. 😦 ….
Me: She’s fine.
M-chan: D:< !!!!
The slow transition from joy to pure vitriol on her face is something I will have a very hard time forgetting.
From then on, their friendship was damaged. Every time S-kun tried to open his mouth in class, whether it was to speak to M-chan or to me, M-chan would clap her hands over her ears and complain that he was bothering her.
The funny part was, Y-chan was completely unaffected by all of this nonsense. As stated before, she was in class to Work and she would not be distracted by this silliness. As a result, while M-chan tried to scowl her into submission, Y-chan’s ability to completely ignore M-chan’s attempts at aggression caused them to become good buddies.. and left S-kun more than a little baffled.
Man, friendship is rough when you’re a kid.