Plucking Class

Classroom 43 is far too small. I can't walk from the door to the whiteboard without inadvertently rubbing up against 6 students. I'd rather not spend part of my teaching day contemplating the ass-or-crotch dilemma. Student-Teacher relationships aren't really my thing, making me somewhat of a minority at Barbie Hagwon Version 2.0.

Sometime last week as I was going into class, I noticed a white hair sticking out on top of Reba Student's head. Were I not impulsive and just plain big mouthed, I could have let this go. As it is, I immediately blurted out, "Reba Student, you have a white hair." I then poked her in the head to indicate exactly where the hair was.

The other five students giggled for longer than was probably necessary (whether it was at Reba's expense or mine remains to be seen). Reba Student took a mirror out of her purse and frantically began inspecting the top of her head for a white hair. "Rebecca, I don't see it". She put her mirror down, defeated.

I apologized for the comment and suggested that we just pretend that never happened. I pointed out that my head is full of white hairs (not entirely true) and attempted to move on with the day's lesson. Over the next five minutes, as I tried to get the class engaged in some activity about food or something or other, Reba and Jackie Students worked together to find and remove the white hair. Jackie Student would find it, then fail to rip it out, then lose it. This process repeated itself three times before I accepted that I had no choice but to intervene.

"Reba, do you want me to rip it out?"
"Yes, yes please! And thank you."
"Really? It's just a white hair. I have some, too. Really. I swear."
"I want it out"
"Yes, now. It's fine."


I went to my purse to retrieve a pair of tweezers and plucked the hair right from her scalp. In the middle of class. With the other students watching. She yelped then examined the hair that I placed on her desk. "But it's black", she insisted. Then she noticed the tiny hair beside it. "Oh. It's white". Yes, it was. It was also totally unnoticeable to anybody who doesn't have to crawl over her on a daily basis to get to the whiteboard. Yet, for some reason, she thanked me afterwards and insisted that my repeated apologies were totally unnecessary.