The only reading that I’ve managed to get done this past week is a book of short stories by Muriel Spark. I’m disappointed to say that I only managed to read 3 of the 5 stories, although the reason I’d selected it was that it looked so beautifully slim, perfect for my busy week.
I have been teaching the kindergarten class at a nearby school for the past three weeks. It has been an exhausting affair. I love them all very much but by the end of the day all I want to do is sit down and space out. Of course, the little cuddly children make up for being such a handful with their funny stories, amusing antics, the wilted flowers, and indecipherable pictures that they bring me. It’s also cute when I call one child ‘a cute little thing’ and the others say, “Me?” “Me?” And when I repeat the same thing to them they’re so pleased their eyes light up.
The other day I tried to tell them that when I was speaking they should listen because I would ask questions later: “I am the teacher and you are the students. Who are you?” “We are the childrens!” came the exuberant reply. On Friday, one little boy corrected me, “It’s not ‘drank water’. It’s ‘drinked water’.” Working with little children who are just beginning to learn to speak in English is doing funny things to mine. Saying things like, “What for me?” and infusing Tamil words into my English has become more natural. My Tamil comprehension has also gone up incredibly. Yesterday it was pointed out to me by my brother that my accent has changed as well in the way I stress certain syllables and pronounce certain words. I think I understand now how different accents are picked up effortlessly.
My days are definitely not dull. I have children who wipe their noses on my clothes while pretending to hug me; who do cartwheels when I tell them to stand in the corner; little drama queens in the making that fight over favourite chairs and beg me not to force them to be friends with each other. But I miss having the time to read for fun. That last book by Penelope Fitzgerald has reminded me how lovely it is to get lost in a novel of beautiful words and fictional thoughts. I will have to write on Muriel Spark’s book of short stories in my next post.