At the end of class a minute ago, a little girl waved and said, "Have a nice day," as if I had just met her on the street in Chicago. The best part is, I know she knew exactly what it meant. It's these brief exchanges, when you know you've really taught these kids something, that the job feels truly worth it.
There are time (like today) when I, like my English-teaching colleagues, get frustrated because it seems like we don't get through to the kids. They don't pay attention or you just can't explain a simple concept to them, and suddenly you feel like a failure, unable to make a kid understand what "do you like ice cream?" means. It's these times when I want to huddle into a ball and get on a plane to a nation where I can have a conversation with a little kid that's longer than 6 words.
And then a 9 year old girl waves and says, "Have a nice day" as she's leaving.
And I get up and go back in for the next class.