One of my gentlest 6th graders calmly approached me one day. “Madam, Karma is beating me.” My student turned around and I saw a small person hanging on to the 6th graders back like a little koala.
“You are lucky my sixth graders are so nice Karma. You do realize this boy is twice your size, right?” Karma said nothing, gave my 6th grader another mini smack and took off. The sixth grader and I shrugged.
Karma is a pudgy little third grader who zips around the Early Learning Center slightly little hunched over, with one squinty eye, saying things like, “Mam, may I have a word with you?” He is articulate, honest, and a wiggle worm when it comes to studies. He frequently sprints into a classroom, comes to a screeching halt in the doorway, and looks around for someone to tell the latest third grade news to as if he were Cramer from Seinfeld.
One day over our 2-week summer break, I was in a car about 30 minutes outside of town. I heard a small voice and noticed a little chubby kid covered in mud shuffling over to the car. “Mam. This is my house and this is my dog,” he proclaimed as he gave the scruffy mutt two firm pats on the head.
A week later, upon arriving back to school, the little guy ran up to me again, this time saying, “Madam... you were at my house.... you met my dog.... and your 6th graders... they are like family to me."
There is something about my sixth graders that the kid loves. I once held a tutoring session with a group of sixth grade boys and I was pleasantly surprised when I looked over to find Karma sitting at a desk, his feet dangling from the oversized chair. The bad teacher in me held back from asking him what study session he was ditching to come hang out, just to see what his intentions were. After about ten minutes of listening in silence, he casually walked out and picked a playful fight with his best friend in the hallway. My sixth graders excused themselves from my study session to go and break it up, and the day carried on as usual.
Karma, who is constantly sucking up nose danglers, once told me that the King is more handsome than him because "the King has less snot".
When I asked my sixth graders to ignore another student’s challenging behaviors and just set a good example, Karma, who was nearby replied, “You should probably start ignoring me as well.”
At meditation, I can’t help but hear the mission impossible song play in my head as I see Karma creep in the direction of a teacher and stop to do a fake meditation every five feet so as not to disturb the people around him. He typically wants to wash the mud he was playing with during morning prayers off his round little fingers.
The phantom knucklehead slips into my room and quietly joins tables of sixth grade boys eating lunch. On the schoolyard, he convinces the boys twice his size to hop onto his back for a quick spin around the schoolhouse.
I guess what I am getting at here is that, Karma’s honesty, self-awareness and confidence to not give a damn what others think is admirable.
When one of Karma’s classmates brought in a smourgesbourg of food for her birthday, I asked Karma if he thanked her. In the middle of shoveling cake into his mouth he explained, “Actually, she is my total enemy, but I just said thank you anyways to be polite.”
While holding back my laughter, I said, “Oh, wow Madam Jessica, Karma shared something interesting with me.”
In the middle of the party, Karma pulled me aside, well aware that Madam Jessica has the loudest laugh at ELC, and said, “Madam, please wait to tell Madam Jessica when she is outside of the classroom.”
The kid is classic!
I don’t know if it is the fact that I have seen him noogie the tallest sixth grader on the playground… or the fact that when he does a karate kick, his running start, and the momentum of his kicking foot pick his pudgy body off the ground so that both feet are in the air. Whatever it is, I like it. And that my friends, is Karma.