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You're Gorgeous When You Laugh

General UpdatesKristina PinoComment

I used to be self-conscious about my laugh.

I laugh loudly, and often burst laughing so hard I cry. Sometimes, when I laugh, heads turn from across the room in surprise. Sometimes it bugs me, sometimes it doesn't. I was a little bit worried about what would happen in the classroom once I started teaching in Japan, partially because so many of the teachers I work with like peace and quiet in their domains.

You know that thing people say, about how students impart lessons to their teachers just as teachers impart on their students? I started teaching because it was an option. I'm a teacher today, and plan to continue being a teacher tomorrow, because working with children is infinitely rewarding.

Here are two big things I learned from my students:

Laughter is a wild and beautiful thing. And children can tell when you're really laughing. My students like to make me laugh because they like how I laugh and how they can see my face go red or me double over in a fit. They delight in finding new ways to make me laugh in and out of class because they love the genuine reaction.

Laughter is contagious: If they get me laughing to the point of tears, I take a bunch of my kids down with me. I've lost good 5-minute chunks of my lesson to giggle fits that sweep the room, and it always pays off to open up that steam valve. My students, more often than not, are more open to conversation during class after we've all had a good laugh.

No child has ever told me I laugh loudly. They might exclaim something general like, "Whoa, that's a big laugh!," but they've never said or done anything that communicates to me that I should tone it down. Or that I'm weird. No co-worker has ever complained, either.

I don't remember how or why I became self-conscious about my laugh. Maybe it's because I can hear it echo back at me sometimes when I'm in a quiet place. Or maybe it's because I easily succumb to giggle fits that leave me breathless and unable to move on with whatever it is I was doing at the time. Whatever the case may be, I'm done worrying about it. I mean, I might still have my awkward moments, but I'll never let myself think that there's something weird or wrong when I'm laughing louder than anyone else at a super lame joke or pun.

And this goes for you, too, if you're reading this. You're gorgeous when you laugh.

Late night excitement

General UpdatesKristina PinoComment
Today (as in Thursday, since I haven't slept), I finished the big chunk of an application to teach in Japan. I'm trying it out with Interac, and it was a fairly simple process right up until I got to the last couple steps and was asked to answer a few questions in essay format and choose my time-off and placement preferences.

Whoa, whoa. It's only step one, here. I already have to think about where I want to be placed? And how badly I want to be placed there, and list alternatives? Dang.

That's when I began to feel slightly nervous. I got four spaces to list my preferences. For all four, I listed Elementary school level kids, three of them for metro/urban lifestyle, one suburban, and half of them for Kansai. More than anything, I'm dying to be back around Kyoto and Osaka since I know and love the area already, but who knows where I'll be placed.

Alternatively, I pitched Central Japan. At a loss, my fourth choice was "anywhere, metro/urban."

And now... I wait. I wait for someone to give me a call, and ask me some more questions, or ask if I'm flexible about the students or placement, or additional information I may have botched on the application. The good news is, if I don't make it, I'll know by... April?

The other good news is, if I do make it, I'm out of here in August. Dang, that isn't too far away from now. August! That's like... five months from now. Wow.