As I have mentioned before, the grade 8’s classes have been my biggest challenge. The number of them, combined with their poor English skills has made every class makes every lesson unpredictable. However, they are probably my favorite classes as they keep me on my toes and provide the greatest rewards for me when they finally make a breakthrough.

This week I began the near impossible task of teaching them the brand new and very difficult topic of integers. Because their English is weak, something as simple as explaining the number line and having them copy it took 60 minutes. I thought temperature would be the most relatable, real-life application, but when they didn’t understand what ‘colder’ and ‘warmer’ meant, I was in trouble. For two full classes they just stared at me as if I was speaking Chinese, while I jumped through hoops trying to get a reaction out of them!

But, this afternoon during study time, one of the grade 8’s came to me show me her work and when I marked it all correct and drew a happy face, she busted into a dance of celebration shouting “I understand! I understand!”. While I was dying of laughter, I too was doing my own celebration dance inside!