The Month of Love
~ By Brittany
I was told “Come to the school Andres Quintana Roo February 16th at 6 pm, wear a dress and red lipstick.” Those were pretty vague instructions considering the school was throwing a huge party for Valentine’s Day and I was asked to help with one of the booths. I talked with some of the teachers and asked them questions to find out more information about the “Valentine’s Day Feria” but the only answers I received were that there would be food and games similar to a carnival. It was strange that I had to dress up especially with lipstick to work a booth but I figured it was just their way of celebrating the day. I had no idea what was in store for me.
I arrived at 6:15, yes I know I was late! Thank God the culture is not as time oriented and activities do not have to start exactly on time. The kids were all outside of the school waiting for the Feria to begin, and I was greeted by the familiar sound of their little voices screaming “Teacher, Teacher!” As I entered the gates, Maestra (Teacher) Sarai stationed me to a booth where she and I would be working together for the night. The booth was plain and simple, just a table with three bowls labeled “where?” “how many?” and “from who?” and one more thing, a big sign that said “BESOS!” That’s right, we were stationed at the kissing booth! I could not believe my eyes!
The students could come to our booth and get a kiss for one ticket, which they had previously bought. From each bowl the students would pick one piece of paper that was labeled either “cheek or forehead,” “one or two,” and “Sarai or Brittany.” You could see the excitement bubbling up in the girls and boys eyes as they lined up to take their kiss. It was funny to see the first graders immediately go to the back of the line once they got their kiss so that they could have another. A boy named Gerardo in my first grade class repeatedly came to our booth. His face was full of lipstick smudged kisses by the end of the night.
I believe that this experience helped me create a different type of bond with my students. They could now see me as an actual person who likes to have fun with them and show them love instead of only viewing me as their English Teacher in class encouraging them to learn and at times forcing them to behave. I believe that building relationships with the students greatly increases the students’ interest to learn a new language, and the teachers and students at Andres Quintana Roo surely do know how to give and show love! My heart is pleased to feel so loved by everyone at this school and I was glad I could return the favor to all of my students. Those unexpected kisses really were the best!