“I was waiting for you at the door!”


Today was my first day of school as an English language assistant, and I must admit I was a bit nervous. I am scheduled to teach primarily 5th and 6th graders, and occasionally 1st and 2nd. Unlike most auxiliaries that were worried about their interactions with the other teachers, my biggest concern was the students. I just remember my peers at that age being so ruthless! Looking back, my Middle School teachers probably dreaded trying to teach us only to be bullied by kids 15+ years younger than them. So I thought for sure that Karma was going to be waiting for me at the front door, with arms folded, a bad wig on, and head cocked to the side saying, “ Where you been Sillysid? I mean, that’s what they called you back in the day right? You thought I forgot about you huh?”

As I walked into my first class (6th grade) my first observation was the tired look on the teacher's face. “Uh oh, this can’t be a good sign,” I thought to myself. When she saw me, she immediately introduced herself and then explained that she was so grateful to have me. The bell rang, and shortly after that brief introduction I soon realized why she used the word, “Grateful.”

As soon as the bell rang kids poured in and were EVERYWHERE -- but their seats! Kids on tables, kids on chairs, kids with their friends, kids running in and out of the classroom. Excuse me, but I didn’t know I signed up to be a zoo-keeper! It was entirely out of control, and all I heard in the midst of this ruckus was the tired-looking teacher’s faint monotone voice stating, "No. Stop. Get down. Get in your seats. Please.” My heart honestly went out to her at that moment, but it was time to…how do I say this?… Make some CHANGES.

“SIT DOWN!” I said.

To get their attention I had to add some bass to my voice. How else were they going to respect me? The students quickly went to their assigned seats and stared at me like I was Ms. Trunchbull from Matilda, as I paced the room with my hands behind my back. However, this stern demeanor didn’t last long. Because I’m such a sucker for cute faces, I caved in, cracked a smile and started talking with a much softer voice than they initially heard. They probably thought I had a personality disorder. Needless to say, that was my first mistake.

I then introduced myself as the head-teacher started to perk up looking at her seemingly new well-behaved students…that is until mid-way into my introduction.

“Oh, right. My name, duh! My name is Sidra,” pronouncing it as a Spaniard would, "SEE- DRRUH"

The snicker in the classroom got my attention, and then it dawned on me that they weren’t too young to know about alcoholic drinks seeing as though social drinking is so embedded in the Spanish culture, which is why this was hysterical to them. In Spain, Sidra is a Spanish cider that is popular because of how it’s poured out, which is at the height of one meter to enhance the aroma and flavor. This concept is known as “throwing."

“Sidra, como la bebida ” yelled a kid.

Translation: " Sidra? Like the drink?"

As I turned around to write my name on the blackboard I couldn't help, but think to myself that I was "that" girl... you know the stereotypical girl named after a product. *sigh. Oh well, here's to day one. Cheers to me.