we signed Cutie Nubbin up for a parent and me chinese-language learning class. last saturday, it rained all morning during the 50-minute long class. i knew we were in trouble when we walked through the community center’s courtyard, past several gleaming yellow tonka dump trucks… and up the steps to the dreary classrooms and even more dreary teachers above.
the teacher is a perfectly nice if completely ineffectual teacher named E. that day, she’d brought her own daughter who is about 5 years old to our class. apparently the dance class E. wanted to enroll her daughter in was cancelled. so the poor thing had to sit through the entirety of a class of 3 squirming 2-to-3 year olds.
dreary E. teaches the class as if her toddler students are 1) deaf and 2) adult learners of a second language. plus, she has the distinct disadvantage of being from the mainland and so therefore is incapable of subtlety, humor, a sense of fun, or any flexibility whatsoever. even the games she invents are tedious and the skeptical toddlers are like, “give me a break, i’m not chasing strangers around a cold, sterile classroom.”
well, when repeated and loud incantations of “EYES! NOSE! MOUTH! EARS!” in chinese by E. failed to stimulate responses from the tots (altough the grownups dutifully chanted along), one little girl lay down in the corner and moan-cried for 10 minutes straight while Cutie Nubbin went to the fire exit door and tried to pry it open–”mommy, go outside! play bulldozers!”
the capper was when E.’s own little girl burst into tears because she wanted to get her mama’s attention and E. kept ignoring her.
E. needs to get some plastic farm animals and let the kiddies play with them and help them learn things through play. bring in some food items and kitchen toys so they can play with those, and name those in chinese. at this age they’re very much into playing with tangible things they can manipulate.
this “repeat after me” stuff only works with 7 year olds who can sit still.