Can't: Cut a circle with scissors
Can: Memorize all of the words to PSY's "Gagnam Style"
Can't: Tie their own shoes
However, or more appropriately, unfortunately, there are certain things that they are supposed to be able to do but can't always remember...
Like wiping their own butt.
One of my students, Korean age 7 (5-6), has had two "incidents" in this area.
Part I: Attack of the Poop
It's a normal day, normal kindergartners, normal shenanigans.
And a normal bathroom break... Or so I thought.
I stayed in the classroom and drew smiley faces on finished worksheets while the students did their business and shuffled back in.
10 minutes later, and James is still in the bathroom.
Now, James is infamous for visiting other classes and generally wandering when allowed out of the classroom for more than a second, so I wasn't as worried as I probably should have been by his absence.
Eventually, one of the kids says, "Teacha? What is sound?"
I open the door to the room and hear crying and desperate sobs of "Teachaaaaaa! Helpa me!!!"
I push the other students back in the classroom and shut the door and run down the hall to the bathroom emergency.
I was expecting some sort of Many Many Dong scenario, so what I found was pretty tame in comparison.
James, on the toilet, crying with his little pants around his ankles.
Apparently, the problem was that he had taken a poo, but forgotten how to wipe his butt. I hand him toilet paper and stand outside the stall, giving half-hearted encouragement to the crying poopy-butt inside.
"It's okay, James! You're a big boy! I know you can do it!"
... He definitely can't.
And by this point, his crying and shouting has brought every teacher in the school to the bathroom for a quick laugh. Which, of course, just makes everything worse by embarrassing James even more.
By this time, all of the Angel Teachers are gone.
My co-teacher (SAINT) Jackie comes to the rescue and wipes his butt. We talk about practicing at home with your mommy so these kinds of things don't happen again.
He cries on my shoulder for a while, we hug, and go back to class.
Part II: Revenge of the "Dong"
It's two weeks later, and another normal day.
I have received assurances from James and his mom that he has been practicing wiping his butt at home.
But, when put to the test, all of that practice goes out the window.
James goes to the bathroom, makes a nice Number 2, and once again needs help.
I give him some paper, and convince him to try first, and if he still can't do it, I'll help him.
I instruct him, step-by-step, on how to wipe his butt. He wipes away his tears, and wipes with a look of determination usually reserved for marathon runners and the National Spelling Bee contestants.
He does it, and we have a little toilet celebration. I turn to leave, and he says, "Teacha! I did it, but me no really clean."
I take a deep breath, and give a cursory wipe.
Really, I barely touched him at all, but the gesture reassured him enough that he stood up, flushed, and we washed our hands together.
Oh, and I swore him to secrecy.
The other kids would have had a field day making fun of both of us.
Of course, I was just looking out for James... Of course.
Best teacher of all time? I think so. I'll look for you all at the awards ceremony.