I am teaching “compliments” this week. I have saved 10 Pringles like canisters – they are called Mr. Potato over here. I cut out squares of stiff cardboard and put reward stickers on each one: Awesome, Marvelous, Great Job, Fantastic, Wow, You are Great, etc. The students must first copy the list of compliments from their English books / paper magazines into their writing books. Then I meet with them in groups of 4 and have them speak the compliments. I give them feedback – That’s wonderful! You are so smart. I’m proud of you! Then they get the Mr. Potato and more colorful compliments that other students have made. Then they have to copy each of these into their writing books. When they are finished I check their work and when it is correct, I put a sticker from America into their writing books – Way to go! You are a star!..... Then they select from beautiful colored paper and must write their own compliments that they make up on their own - on the paper, in their books and on the board. When they are finished I correct the items on the board and collect up what they wrote so I can check for accuracy.
It’s exhausting. But at the end of each class the students are engaged and able to give each other compliments. So it’s worth it! My favorite compliment is; “You’re a cheap smile, Oma.” The teachers have assured me that this is a GOOD genuine compliment. Also: You’re Comfortable. And I like your force. I’ve been thinking about what kind of a difference I make over here in Indonesia. Maybe my legacy will just be that I was a cheap smile. Maybe it will be enough.