I couldn't help but let the infamous lyrics sung by Alice Cooper play through my mind over and over these last few days as my count dwindled from one month left of teaching to one week to one day to one hour. My students were all super great this week and seemed generally sad to say goodbye to me. I'm keeping it a surprise to all of them that I'm sticking around to teach for another term so I just played along as though I'm heading back to America.
One of my smaller classes gave me a yearbook of sorts that they put together themselves. Each student filled out a page in the book with information about themselves and then on the back of the page they wrote me a note. It was a really sweet gesture and the notes were so great to read. Most of them thanked me for being their teacher, paid me a lot of compliments and said that they hope we can meet again in the future. I'll definitely be bringing the book back for everyone to check out, but for now I want to share my favorite passage.
At the top of the page it says, "Chinese isn't a people that are good at expressing, as you know, Class 1 Grade 2 isn't a class that are very active, you know. But, not being good at expressing doesn't equal to not being thankful and not being active doesn't equal to being unhappy. We have hidden our thanks to you in our heart, in the most deep place of our body. Today let me speak it out = Erin, we love you!"
Then she wrote me a poem:
You're a green leaf,
Flying across the wide ocean,
Falling on the land of the eastern world,
And then gone back with the wind.
You're a lovely window,
Bringing us a new world,
With the sun's bright shining,
And the wind's slight blowing.
Leaf is leaving,
Window won't shut,
We'll continue the window
And last our miss you.
*A short poem, it can be called a poem written for you. Maybe there are lots of errors, however, it presents my heart and mind. Hope you'll be happy when reading it."
And finally she wrote me a note: "I don't think this will be a forever separation because I have a feeling that there must be someone in our class who will got to America for further education or just a job in the future. If so, I think no one will forget to get in touch with you at that time. So, don't be afraid to be troubled when we pay a visit to you then. Haha. Let's imagine what the scene will be like then (just taking me for example) ------
'Ringring, ringring, ringring.' You come to the door, strangely looking at me, who is standing in front of you.
'So you are...?'
'Oh Erin, please don't. Can't you really recognize me? I'm xxx, who you taught ten years ago in Class 1, Grade 2 No. 3 Middle School.'
'Oh My God! It's you! It's unbelievable!'
We have a big hug and walk into the house. A crowd of boys and girls are playing there.
'Oh Erin, are you still a teacher and these are your students?'
'No, no, these are all my children.'
Hearing this, I almost stop my breath. Then you turn to them, 'My boys and girls now stop your games and listen to me! Jack, get a cup of tea! Tom, get a bottle of juice! Rose, get her a chair! Lucy, get something to eat! Jim, get the TV turned off! Rain, get the toys away! Lily get ....'
When everything is ready you order them, 'Come stand in a line and say hello to the guest.'
I can't help counting the number of children in my heart: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen ...'"
I have no idea where she got the idea that I want to have 16 children, but I thought the story was absolutely endearing and the poem and note were the most heartfelt things I've read in a long time. It's hard to read something like that, listen to the kids say goodbye and ever think about leaving them.