“SHITmas with the Kiddos” (Teaching in Vietnam)

SHITmas with the Kiddos

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – January 3, 2019

Can you believe my MOM came all the way to Vietnam to visit me?! Along with Doritos and new underwear, she brought me my Santa-suit that (funny enough) I purchased exactly this time last year when I was traveling through Vietnam. We had a biker-brigade that drove from Hue to Hoi An. I saw a costume store on the side of the road and immediately concocted a “Santa Squad” idea. We decided we COULD NOT, NOT purchase them. Biking down the coast of Vietnam in bright red Santa outfits—I’ll never forget the reactions we got from the locals. There wasn’t a single person we passed that didn’t take pictures of us and blare their horn while bellowing, “Merry Christmas!” We thought we were going absolutely viral in Vietnam, but we’re still waiting for our big-break.

As foreign teachers, we’re already celebrities in our school. We are escorted in and out of taxis that pick us up and drop us off everywhere we need to be. All the kids want to hug you, give you a high-five, touch you, or pull out anything they can possibly muster from the depths of their English language depository… but with a Santa-suit, the kids actually went insane. The moment the kids walked through the classroom doors and saw me, they started SCREAMING. At one point I almost got knocked over. I thought for sure I was going down because I had 35 screaming six-year-olds jumping all around me and trying to push their way to the front for a hug. I legit created a mosh pit!!!! It was LITTY!!!

We just learned the “sh,” “ch,” and “th,” phonics sounds… But Christmas happens to be one of the too-many exceptions to the English rule. Basically I had a bunch of children chanting, “MERRY SHITmas!!!” They wanted to show me they knew some Christmas songs in English, so some of them volunteered to get up on the teaching stage and sing to me. After one group finished, another group also wanted to perform. This time they sang a Vietnamese Christmas song for me. The third group digressed from Christmas music to “Happy Birthday,” so it was time to get back on track with the lesson.

I illegally downloaded Rudolph the red nose reindeer, 1964 version (I wouldn’t steal a car), because it’s still BY FAR the greatest Christmas movie ever created. Mic drop. When I told them we were going to watch a Christmas movie and make greetings cards for their family, they all jumped up and down shouting, “Cool teacher!” Cool teacher and happy Christmas elf, I pranced around the classroom giving out coloring worksheets, markers, and sparing amounts of glitter (because anyone who has kids or works with kids knows what a slippery-slope glitter can be). I loved watching their creativity (or obvious lack thereof) take place. A Waldorfian myself, I’m a huge proponent of play-based-learning.

My plan was to just decorate a 2D card, but my teaching assistant cut one child’s into 3D form. That was the END of peace and quiet, and life as we know it. Once one student gets something, the other students NEED to have it or widespread panic quickly disperses . The three-dimensional card was WAY too much for the youngins. As with anything (especially with kids), anything that can go wrong WILL go wrong… things you would never expect! Like—“What?! You don’t know how to cut with scissors?!” SO, we taught their little hands how to cut with scissors. *Add developing fine motor skills, rapid paper-folding, and glue-sniff patrol to the resume.*

We had sooo much fun with the kiddos!

Giáng Sinh Vui Vẻ!


Alena Santa-witz | Miss Potato

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