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“Even though you’re little you can do a lot, you mustn’t let a little thing like “little” stop you!”
Inimitable Tim Minchin.
He’s worded my life-mantra for me!
And a totally GORGEOUS moment at around 3:00″ when one of the Matildas whispers excitedly:
“It’s your turn!”
Re-reading Roald Dahl’s words now, as a teacher, fills me with wonder. How did he do it?! He created worlds which burst with imagination using only words…no Facebook, no Twitter…no animation, or bells + whistles. Just the page and the kid reading those delicious, fabulous words which made me shiver with wonder + snort with laughter. He was devilish and gross, tender and enchanting…magic. Without setting out to, he fed my vocabulary of real (and wonderfully imaginative!) words. He made the impossible, possible, in perfect kid language.
When I read his words today, I realise that brand of magic is still very much alive and in fact, may have intensified as I read them through the eyes + mind of my older self.
Below is a snippet from The BFG, one I read with new meaning as teacher…if you really listen, what do you hear?
“You is deaf as a dumpling compared with me!” cried the BFG. “You is hearing only thumping loud noises with those little earwigs of yours. But I am hearing all the secret whisperings of the world!
I is hearing the footsteps of a ladybird as she goes walking across a leaf;
I is hearing the little ants chittering to each other as they scuddle around in the soil;
And sometimes, on a very clear night, I is sometimes hearing faraway music coming form the stars in the sky;
I is hearing the scream of a flower as its stem is twisted from the ground;
I is hearing the soft moan of the old oak, like an old man dying, weeping, when it is felled.”
A queer little shiver passed through Sophie’s body. She sat very quiet, waiting for more.
“Is that really true?” Sophie asked.
“You think I is swizzfiggling you? Then I is stopping right here!”
The BFG gave her a long hard stare. Sophie looked right back at him, her face open to his.
“I believe you,” she said softly.
“I is hearing the most wonderful and terrible sounds! Some of them you would never wish to be hearing yourself! But some is like glorious music.”
He seemed almost to be transfigured by the excitement of his thoughts. His face was beautiful in its blaze of emotions.
“I is hearing that chatterings of little mices;
I is hearing the natterings of little flutterbys;
I is hearing the glorious, pure voice of a mother spider, spinning her web.
I is hearing the world – a world so different from yours.”
My musical stockings which made their first appearance in November 2014! 🙂
This is a total no-brainer. I’m 5 foot, or probably just a little under, but I like the well-roundedness, and the slight ego-trip, of being able to say definitively that I AM five feet tall. Yes, I do realise the irony of becoming a high school teacher, but life gives you what you need to develop your character, and yelling out, “SHORT TEACHER COMING THROUGH!” and swimming through a packing shed of teenage bodies in the (old) Brighton science corridor was the ultimate in character building. Year 8s use me as a periodic measuring stick through their first year of school, Year 12s reminisce at how, at the beginning of their high-schooling, they were once my height and now can comfortably use me as a resting post…if they lean. I was measured against a bass flute once. If the other music staff were asked if they’d seen me, a favoured response was, “Have you looked down? In the carpet weave?!”
But my quaint compactness has had its charms. I have no competition for the floor-layer of pigeon holes, I blend in during casual days, I get asked which year level I’m in or which university I’m studying at and I can recline comfortably under my desk with a novel, umm, ACARA notes, during emergency lockdown.
But “little” I am incredibly fond of, as it has shaped me in unexpected ways. Learning to understand my presence in the classroom, my gestures as a conductor and how I interact with students twice my size have a sort of double importance…I REALLY have to imbue all that I am into my role, stand my ground, use my presence + person well. It is absolutely, perfectly normal to stand (on a block) in front of an ensemble or class and direct the stream of interaction, crafting of a new piece, or learning. It’s only when the DVD of the Music Spectacular comes out that my students will very bluntly proclaim,
“Ms Kwok, you look ridiculously tiny standing in front of a 120-combined choir!”
Best present for my size? My Year 12s of Vintage 2005 made me one of those orange flags with flashing orange light to assist with my identification in large crowds. They got sick of being stuck with me as the invisible check-in point!