Tonight, I had three students over to do some baking for Easter. We made cupcakes and these awesome bird's nest coconut cookies. However, the baking was secondary. Far greater was the joy of friendship and the sharing of language.
The students are all international; they come from Colombia, Venezuela, and China. They are all in our school's performing arts programs, so I had two strings players and a singer. We had fun babbling in Spanish and teaching funny/important phrases to the Mandarin speaker (such as "be careful," "I'm sorry," and "kiss me more" -- all useful for heading off to college next year!).
The student from China is my kitchen buddy but also a senior. She's come over many times to cook here, learn recipes from me, and have fun. It's definitely a different line from teaching public school. I'm still an adult and her teacher, but we can also share together and learn from each other. Tonight, I pulled out photos from the summer I spent living and volunteering in Honduras to share with the kids, and we ended up perusing one of my scrapbooks too. They tell me stories from back home and ask questions about cultural and language nuances.
This job is time-consuming. I'm not off the clock unless I leave town (not just campus, as we run into students all over the place). But it's also rewarding, and I value the connections I've made. Plus, it's awesome to have some extra hands willing to do the dishes and clean up after three hours of baking. Yay for young hearts and minds!