Writing 101, Day Seven: Give and Take

Today’s prompt: Focus today’s post on the contrast between two things. The twist? Write the post in the form of a dialogue.

Teacher, no interested

Teacher, no interested

“Kelly Teacher is here, and you are way down here,” the student explained as he put his right hand high as he could while keeping his left hand steady at desk level.

I tried to reason with him by offering, “I’m sorry you feel that way Joon. I know that right now you are very angry and maybe a little sad.” The frustration and despair in his eyes remained as he tried to process what I said.

“Yeah, but. . . I am angry to you! Kelly Teacher is good teacher.”

“I understand Joon, I’m sorry you feel bad. Kelly Teacher will be back soon, ok? Do you know why you can’t go to Musical English class?”

“Yes,” he said resting his head on his desk.

“Please sit nicely Joon.” As his picks his head back up I ask, “Why? Why are you here Joon? Why are you angry at me?”

“You make me angry,” he says and I realize our language barrier is getting in the way.

“Joon, it’s important to know why we feel angry. Do you feel angry when Jessica Teacher gives you a smiley face?,” I inquire pointing to the behavior board listing all the student’s names and their earned rewards.

“No, that’s not angry.”

“How do you feel when you get a smiley face?”

“It’s not angry.”

“Well that’s good. Does it make you happy Joon?”

“Uh huh,” he moans resting his head on the desk again. I know I am testing his patience.

“Joon please sit nicely. When does Jessica Teacher give you a smiley face? Does she give you a smiley face when you don’t sit nicely?”

“No,” he says looking my way with his head still on the desk.

“Please sit nicely. Does she give you a smiley face when you are writing on your friend’s papers?”

Sitting up to rest his head on his hands, his elbows making an L-shape he replies, “No.”

“That’s right Joon. Jessica Teacher gives you a smiley face when you sit nicely, work nicely and are nice to your friends. So if you are not doing those things I can’t give you a smiley face. And if I ask you to do those things and you don’t listen then you can’t have smiley faces and you can’t do other fun things like Musical English. Do you want smiley faces, Joon? Do you want to have fun at Musical English?”


“That’s good Joon. So then show me you want to get smiley faces and go to Musical English. That will make me happy. It will make you happy. Everybody can be happy. Show me you can sit nicely for one minute and then we can go see your friends in Musical English class. Ok?”

He says, “ok,” but he clearly doesn’t understand because he started to get up from his desk.

“No Joon, you have to sit nicely for one minute. Then we go.”

He moans as he sits back down with his back propped up straight as a board, his stomach sticking out, showing me how nice he can sit. Of course, he can’t hold that pose for a minute and starts to lose his endurance. We sat in that room for another 5 minutes before one of the Korean teachers came in to chit-chat. I think she really saved him. He was so amazed that she spoke English with such great ease and bewildered as to how the two of us were friends that he forgot what he was doing and sat nicely for 2 minutes.

“Great job, Joon! Now let’s go sing some songs!”

“Teacher, can I have a smiley face?”


2 thoughts on “Writing 101, Day Seven: Give and Take

  1. I’m a math enrichment tutor working with 5th graders (or, I was, before school let out last week). I feel your pain in this one and am thoroughly enjoying what I’ve read.

    Negotiating with Joon is the strength of this piece. I can sense the frustration with the language barrier (not to mention the relief once the Korean teacher makes her appearance).

    I can see this scene quite vividly (even without the picture added) and the dialogue plays easily in my head. I didn’t notice any typos or grammatical errors. The flow was good, as was the pacing.

    Nice work. 🙂


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