Today, my favorite (any teacher will be honest and tell you they have a favorite student) shocked me again. Olivia is the happiest little lark I’ve ever met. She is about 5 or 6 years old, never frowns and has a bright round face with a perfectly infectious smile. She used to call me over to her table, “Teacher, teacher, come here.” She’d motion with her hand as if she had a secret to tell and look at her feet trying to remember why she’d called me over.
“I, um, my grandma. It’s her, birthday!” And she threw her hands up in celebration and surprised me a little. I told her to give a big birthday hug and eat some cake. She has random ideas and little happy thoughts on most any given day. So today, she called me to her table, and now she is a big first grader and growing more every day. And she showed me her two front teeth had fallen out. She smiled the classic Bobby Clarke smile with enthusiasm and it was a nice way to start class. We discussed how many teeth the other students had lost and said, “Sammy sells seashells by the seashore” to practice. Then she reached into her small purse and pulled out something and dropped them on the table. Her two front teeth. She was carrying them with her. They were so small, like little square tic-tacs. I laughed so hard and thanked the forces that brought me to Korea to have students like this that literally brighten up your day.