Let the Good Times Roll: From the Mouth of Babes

Kids are honest, sometimes too honest. Teacher Crystal shares with us her experience of being on the end of some harsh truth and lovely words from her students.

Crystal is a jack-of-all-trades from southern Georgia with certification in Early Childhood Development and years of experience in tutoring, teaching, writing, and carpentry among a wide variety of other things. When not coming up with new ways to enhance the effectiveness of her classes, she operates the privately owned feline sanctuary Country Kitty Paradise, which provides a permanent home for abandoned cats in rural areas. She loves drawing and everything related to cats. 
In being with the company for almost two years, I've had so many wonderful experiences and met so many delightful kids! The students each are so unique with their personalities, adaptability, and how they perform in class. They brim with curiosity, engage with enthusiasm, and work hard to succeed! As a teacher, you try to prepare for each lesson so it will go as smoothly as possible, but one thing is for certain, uncertainty in every class is guaranteed! I would love to share a few stories with you that I think you'll find both relatable and amusing, or at least one of the two.

Okay, so let me set the scene. It's the middle of July in the southern Coastal Empire of Georgia. The only thing hotter than the heat is the humidity with a chorus of frogs singing in the yard for rain in the early morning dew. I didn't sleep much that night before my alarm alerted me it was time to rise and shine, become bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for my morning classes. I ambled into the bathroom and practically startled myself in the mirror. The lack of sleep made my eyes puffy and I looked fairly pale...well, more than usual anyway. I have a thyroid condition, so I burn yet never tan no matter how much sun I get.

The humidity made my hair frizz is some places while clumping in others. Though we were thankful to have air-conditioning, I still was a bit hot and it showed. I did my best with what I had to work with as I combed my hair to look presentable, applied a touch of makeup to look less corpse-like, and put on bright colors to appear more vibrant. After all was said and done, I thought I passed the bar, I mean I wouldn't be winning any beauty pageants, but at least I removed the drowsy zombie look. Qkids is a fabulous platform with the majority of students based in China. So to balance out teaching them during their evening times, you have to be an early-riser.

Anyway, the program had gotten a recent update and so I needed my A-game! The clock was ticking, the students were logging in, and my focus was on teaching and making sure everyone did their best and got adequately rewarded. Everything was going so smoothly that my appearance was on the back burner.....until my third class when my fixed student who I've been teaching for over a year and a half reminded me of how brutally honest children can be.

In short, he told me I was super ugly. "You're ugly. Teacher Crystal is very ugly. It's not good to see you. It's terrible to see you."

Nothing like a confidence booster from a 7-year-old.

I'm pretty thick-skinned when it comes to insults due to being bullied regularly at school when I was young. However; when I became a teacher, I became an advocate against bullying and draw the line at abuse regardless of nature. I never tolerate the kids being mean to one another and try to always encourage kindness and mutual respect in the classroom.
However; my student was very adamant about his comment, so I didn't argue. I didn't feel a confrontation was necessary as I know how kids can be and he has a reputation for doing whatever he can to stir up trouble. I laughed it off and proceeded to greet the next student who entered the class.

In hindsight, the way I resolved the problem seemed like it was the most effective as he didn't bring it up anymore in the duration of the lesson. A child will drop an antic in a second if it's not getting any desirable reactions, so it's best not to add fuel to the fire.
Still, the words he said did leave a tiny imprint on me as I looked in the mirror after class and saw how my makeup had faded and my hair had magically returned to its unkempt fizz fest despite regular maintenance between classes.

I didn't see myself as really ugly at that moment. I touched up what I could before my last class, which went over really well, but I had some slight self-conscious voice in the back of my head make me look at my teacher's feed from time to time to make sure I hadn't fallen apart on camera. The doubt lingered and it made me think if I really cared about how I look or do I care more about how others think I look?

This is when I remembered a class from months ago that really stuck with me. So let's travel back in time to the winter month of December. I had a student I never had before, yet it was truly a privilege to teach! She was very articulate, confident, and had an aura of light in her spirit that radiated through the screen. She made everyone else in the class smile as she assisted me in guiding her peers to the correct answers while also providing emotional support. She was an extraordinary student, but what stuck with me the most was what happened at the end and it's the life-preserver my mind threw me as I kept fighting the doubt.

She called me beautiful.

On the leaderboard, as we celebrated everyone's accomplishments, she insisted her classmates go first. We had such a wonderful time and out of the blue, she told me words that I haven't heard in a very long time.

"You're so beautiful, Teacher Crystal. You're a wonderful teacher and you're so beautiful! I really love you!"

Her words didn't just touch my heart, it was a 90lb anvil of feels that dropped on me from a skyscraper! Tears began to well up in my eyes as I thanked her for her kind words and returned the compliment that she was beautiful inside and out. We parted ways and I never felt so uplifted before.

The memory of her words squished the bacterial growth of doubt like an insect and I let go of what my fixed student had said. I looked in the mirror and saw a hard-working woman that puts everything she has into doing the best she can for others. I saw a teacher who cared greatly for her students, a daughter who takes great care of her mother, a pet owner who cares for so many stray cats in her private sanctuary, and a person who genuinely cares about other people. I then realized the one thing I didn't care about was what others thought about me. It was a truth I had learned when I was a victim of bullying as a kid that had gotten lost in the cobwebs of my past. I know I'm a good person and I practice kindness every day. That student's kindness reminded me that beauty comes from the inside. The fact is it's impossible to please everyone, so as long as you do your best just forget the rest, no one needs that kind of stress in their life.

The last story I would like to share takes place a bit further back to the fall of 2018. I can't quite remember the month, but I'll never forget the student. I caught a glimpse of a young girl when she first logged into the class, but she quickly covered her camera so that no one could see her.

Throughout the lesson, she verbally participated actively with mild enthusiasm and did a great job overall.

At the end of the lesson, on the leaderboard, she removed the cover on her camera so she could enjoy the stickers as we celebrated everyone's accomplishments. She asked for a crown to look like a princess, but then she constantly tried to cover her head. I realized then that her hair was extremely short, so short that it was sticking up in multiple directions like she had rubbed a balloon on it.

All of the other girls had long, luxurious hair, and it was clear that whatever caused her to get such a short haircut, it was recent and she didn't like it. So I took my signature flower hairpin out and showed her that my hair was nearly as short as hers. During the whole class, she had assumed I just had my black hair pulled back, but after showing her the back of my head and intentionally messing up my hair to match hers, she began to smile from ear to ear. I told her that many girls have really short hair and hers is beautiful. She put her arms down and wore her crown sticker proudly in the last few moments of class.

The moral of the story is that just as teachers make an impact on the students, not just on their education, but in their lives, so do the students touch us and leave handprints on our hearts. Sometimes the handprints can be shaped like fists, so tactics and self-control are key assets to being a successful teacher. Just be confident in yourself and instill confidence in the students who are looking to you for guidance. All of the children in Qkids are absolutely wonderful, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. Just like us, they can off days too. So, don't be afraid to mess up your hair, make a goofy face, or admit your shortcomings. Showing you're free of insecurities ensures them it's okay to be who they are. If you have the stamina, know-how, and most importantly the heart to make a difference in the lives of kids as they make a difference in your life, then join our ranks at  Qkids - Register. Qkids has an amazing support team and tons of other teachers with stories of their own who are here to help you figure things out as you take the first step on a life-changing journey in online teaching!

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