Every day at school, I hear the same thing.
Meeee. Meeeee!!! Meeeeeee, teacher! Teacher, me! Teacher, me! Teacher, meeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Followed by one lucky “Ah-sah!” and 11 other decrescendo whines.
One particular first grader used me-me so much, I have named him Me Me Monkey. Because when he is not screaming MEEEEEE!! from the top of his lungs, he is acting like a monkey. This particular class of first-graders now considers me the best comedian they know. I use Me Me Monkey every day in class as an example. (See the photo here of Me Me Monkey, just behind the boy in the front left)
“Now, here is a tree. Which student lives here?”
CLASS: “MEEEE MEEEEE MONKEY!!!!”
They laugh. And laugh. And laugh.
While Me Me Monkey definitely resembles his namesake by his apes and me-mes, there are other students who resemble people from back home.
Like my sweet student Jammo (see below photo on the far right). I see him every Friday at 1:30. He is in a class full of giggle-box boys and smart sweet girls. While the rest of the boys act like they need about three shots of Ritalin, he sits quietly. Smiling. At me. He hangs off my every word. He draws pictures with hearts to show me. He waves shyly in the hallway.
And the best part of it all, his smile looks just like the one of my old friend Danny Klimetz from Ole Miss. Danny, who took pictures at Whit’s and my wedding, always has that same sweet smile. Once he came to visit in Chattanooga with some other friends and my mom noticed the same thing. What a sweet smile he has. And now I get to enjoy it every Friday afternoon at 1:30.
Then there is Michael. And when I say Michael. I mean Michael Hampton, my brother-in-law. Michael, didn’t you know? I teach your Korean counter-part every morning at 8:30 and twice on Thursdays. Lord help me. I don’t know why he reminds me so much of you. I think he just flat out looks like the Korean version of you. And he acts the way I would imagine you did when you were in fifth grade. He’s smart as a whip, when he wants to be. He leads my once-a-week science class in points. He can tell you about every habitat in the world, in English. But in our everyday extra class, he sits in the back, dreaming about baseball or basketball. Until we play a game. And then he wins or will fight to the death trying. He’s my most competitive student.
And his English name just happens to be Michael. I swear I didn’t name him.
Then there is Hannah.
She is my sweet sweet second grader who tells me I look beautiful every day. And she looks exactly like the second-grade version of my wonderful Korean friend Han-na. I mean exactly. I think they have the same glasses and everything. Right now, Han-na is traveling through the United States and I couldn’t miss her more. But thankfully, I get the second-grade version of her every Wednesday at 12:40.
It’s so funny that there are so many kids who remind me of someone else. Maybe we all have our twins out there, unbeknownst to us all. Or maybe it’s just a way for us to see the people we love and miss on a more regular basis.