I realized today that I've developed a new skill.
It's called my Monkey-See-Monkey-Do Spidey-Sense.
In my three year old classes at the kindergarten, when one of the kids does something silly, and the other kids think it looks like the best thing ever to have ever been invented ever in the universe ever, then they all immediately start doing the same thing.
Then, in a split second, the class descends into chaos, madness, insanity and all that other stuff that makes it impossible to regain their fragile little paper-thin attention spans.
Last week, one little boy pulled his t-shirt up over the back and onto the top of his head so that only his little face peeked out of the neck hole. The shirt was pulled so tight that it caused his arms to raise up and out to the sides like a tiny little scarecrow. Within 1.5 seconds, at least a dozen other students were doing the exact same thing. They were all actually keeping pretty cool about it, just tiny giggles here and there. It was I who was rendered helpless, incapable of continuing the class due to laughter-breakdown.
After 7 or so months at this job, I've gotten pretty good at detecting which silly behaviors are likely to spread like wildfire. My spidey-sense is now fully developed. I see the silly behavior and immediately know it's about to take off. I just seem to lack the ability to redirect the behavior before it spreads.
Why? Because these kids so darn adorable! I admit that I secretly want it to spread so that the adorability factor skyrockets through the roof. The kids love it. I love it. Win/win, right?
Except sometimes... the other Chinese teachers in the room do NOT like it. And then they punish the kids for their silly behavior. And then of course I feel guilty.
They're just toddlers for crying out loud. Let them be silly!
This morning in the middle of one of the classes, a little boy started doing the wah-wah-wah yawny-motion thing... hand over the mouth like patting his yawns, and making a noise like WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH. I zoned in on him right away and was about to redirect his attention, but then stopped. He was too cute. I was overpowered. Kryptonite. (Btw, please forgive the mixed superhero references.) Right away, about 8-10 other kids started doing the same thing. The classroom was filled with WAH WAH WAHs out the wazoo. It was great.
If I were to stay in China, I would start a preschool/kindergarten where the primary focus is to teach creativity and silly behavior. Oh, and reading and other important stuff like that.