Kicked By a First Grader

I’m not the type of person to blog twice in one week…but I had to get this down while it was still fresh.

Today, on my way to teach  my 5th hour class, I approached a group of  first grade boys that I see all of the time. I used to think they were being friendly, until I noticed how Moldovan’s would chastise them when they said things to me.

So today as I approached them, I waved as always, until I noticed that one of the boys (the ring leader)  maneuvered behind me. I turned around to see what he was doing, only to see him run up and kick me!

He kicked me. I was kicked by a FIRST grader…And all of his little tiny first grade friends laughed.

Side note: I want to encourage you to take a moment and laugh. Why? Because if I were reading this blog about someone else, I would laugh HYSTERICALLY and make jokes about it!  So, in all fairness…Feel free to laugh.

Now, after being kicked I was literally stunned. It took me forever to process what just happened to me. And then I was stuck with the question of…What do I do? He’s a little kid. I couldn’t pick him up and beat his ass the way I really wanted too. Moldovans watch every move I make, and if I were to make the wrong decision it would undermine my influence within the community. Given that I am a Health Education Volunteer, I am supposed to set the example in situations like this. Luckily, before I reacted, a Moldovan woman who works at the magazine (corner store) saw what happened and came outside shaking her fist and yelling at the boys. They immediately took off running.

“Do you know their names?” I asked her.

“No, but they go to the Primary School,” She said shaking her head. “They are bad boys.”

I nodded, feeling the tears well up in my eyes. I continued to walk to school trying to tell myself to pull it together and that it wasn’t a big deal. But seriously, I couldn’t. It was a big blow to my ego, a huge insult, a slap in the face, or…. a kick in the leg. hahahahaha.

When I reached the school, it wasn’t long before my partner found me in the room with tears streaming down my face. She demanded I tell her what happened. When I did, her eyes widened in horror. “What are you going to do?!” she asked.

Before I could answer, another teacher came into the room. She saw my tear stricken face and grew concerned. “Why is she crying,” she asked my partner. Soon another teacher entered, but she was kind enough not to ask any questions. And then, Dan enters the room.

For those that don’t know, Dan is my site mate from MINNESOTA and is an English Education volunteer. So, Dan sees I’m upset and immediately asks “what’s wrong?” I quickly told him the story.

“Let’s go!” Dan said already taking charge. I grabbed my coat, and we marched towards the Primary School, clearly on a mission. We first stopped at the magazine where the lady was able to tell us the name and grade of one of the boys in the group. When we arrived at the School there was a teacher outside. Dan told her what happened, and she lead us to the appropriate classroom.

The moment I entered the class, I saw him.

He was wearing a red sweatshirt and had a Western Union backpack. The moment he saw me he turned away in panic. Already gaining satisfaction, I pointed him out. Impetuously, his teacher and the woman that helped us find the classroom made him stand in front of the class and began questioning him.

Nicolai. That was his name.

Nicolai pleaded ignorance until one of his ‘friends’ ratted him out.  Nicolai was made to apologize and currently cannot come back to school unless he comes with both of his parents.

They made an example of him in front of the class and apologized to me profusely. His poor behavior was not merely a reflection of the boy and his family. It was also a reflection of them, and they took his behavior personally. Immediately, they began to explain the familial issues within Moldova that could justify this type of behavior. While I understood where they were coming from, I knew that had I been anyone else that little boy would have NEVER thought to kick me. And that was what upset me most; the blatant disrespect the kid had for me that he didn’t have for anyone else. Not to mention, I had been kicked in the leg and told to “GO BACK TO AMERICA” all in the same freakin week. UGH!

After gaining my composure here is what I noticed: People helped me.

My site mate’s quick action helped me regain my control. The woman at the magazine came to my defense and provided valuable information which eventually lead us to  the woman at the school, who lead us to the very classroom that Nicolai was in. Also, his teachers rectified the incident by taking severe action and making an example out of Nicolai in front of his peers.

Today, I am accepting that the community, while being my biggest headache, will also be my greatest asset.

Besides, maybe this is proof that I need to do a seminar on violence in the Primary School????

There are opportunities everywhere!

That is all.

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6 Comments

Filed under Peace Corps

6 responses to “Kicked By a First Grader

  1. Keswic

    This is proof that what you’re doing MATTERS and is APPRECIATED by someone. Some day they’ll (Moldovan kids) look back on this incident and say, “remember when Nicolai kicked that American’s ass . . . ok leg? (i just had to), she was a tough cause she came and GOT him.” It’s the start to them realizing there are consequences to decisions they make. I have to say, you’re a better person than I am cause I’d run his lil ass down and TRIPPED him, and PUSHED his boys to the ground and made all of them skin their noses. (You remember, KFC baby . . . LMAO) {Carlon, I promise I didn’t do it} Cause that’s how the American’s roll . . . Bully Baby.

    You stay strong and don’t let them break you. It’s ok to bend a lil, but never break. You’ll outlast them.

    We are very proud of you and what you’re doing.
    We love you,
    Uncle Kes

  2. This is why I love you. You took a total sh*tty situation and turned it around.You’re the best.

  3. Wanna work on a seminar on violence with me?

  4. Cate's Aunt Martha

    When I first got my teaching degree in KS, I subbed for awhile. One day on the playground a “big kid” – a 6th grader – was swinging & kicking his shoes off when he got high up in the air. I told him to stop because someone could be hit. He continued & when I tried to get him to go to the office he mouthed off. I was so mad I was in tears, but felt that there was nothing I could do. After I got back inside with my class another teacher came to take my class – I was being called to the office. Turns out the principal had worked at the elementary school where my younger siblings attended, and he’d heard what happened on the playground. The bratty student had to apologize & was going to be further punished. YES!!
    So there are students like this whether you’re in Moldova or the U.S. but it sure is helpful when other staff members have your back. I’m proud of you!

  5. CARLON

    I would have chased them down the street, caught the ring leader and went mideveil on him….lol! I’m joking! You did the right thing and ultimately you will be a better person for it. It’s just hard when you are going through something like that. Way to go!

  6. CARLON

    Keswic, she threw you under the bus on that one….KFC LMAO!

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