Today when I got to my classroom I was informed that 3 students out of the 12 were out sick. In the end, only 5 of the 12 showed up for class. Two of the students who did show up were out sick last week. One of the students who showed up has studied medicine. We ended up talking about health for 30 minutes.
I learned the following about the 5 students in class today:
One of the girls who was out last week has an enlarged heart and will be receiving open heart surgery in July. The other girl who was out last week is 18 years old and has high blood pressure. One of the boys who came to class today told us that he has 2 of something near his heart that all people are supposed to have 3 of (I didn't know the word, but am thinking maybe valve??). Despite warnings against practicing strenuous sports, he chooses to continue practicing his passion of Tae Kwan Do.
Now, I'm not going to downplay my own health problems, because in my opinion you can't compare burdens, but I was floored by the conversation. And impressed. I am SO impressed with the maturity and strength of my students (the 3 with the health problems are all under 20 years old). My respect levels for them were raised to new levels. I can't stress how much I admire these kids. And these 3 are the ones who are always smiling, laughing, and actively involved in class (and yes the ones who I have to shush the most).
We went on to have a really fun class, reviewing the idioms I taught them last week. We did an activity where we had a real conversation, but every time a person spoke they had to incorporate an idiom into their speech. This is the exact excerpt of one section of the conversation. I could have sworn I had walked in on a comedy routine (even more impressive to consider that this is my intermediate class).
Luis: "I heard through the grapevine that my girlfriend likes girls."
Erika: "Take a chill pill; there are more fish in the sea."
Karla: "Yeah, I'll introduce you to my girlfriends and you'll say, 'this is right up my alley.'"
... after recovering from intense laughter,
Me: "Jesús, your turn..."
Jesús: "Ummm... For me, this is not a piece of cake; I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed." (Jabes, who was in the bathroom, walks back into the room) "Speak of the devil!"
... after recovering from more laughter,
Me: "Jabes, your turn..."
Jabes: "I feel under the weather when I don't have class or homework."
Karla: "Whatever floats your boat..."
I seriously love these kids.