Entropy observed small children

“Hello class, how are you?!” I try to embody a Disney princess even though I dress like an exhausted version of my seventh-grade biology teacher.

“So-so”
“Tired.”
“Hungry.”
“Mad.”

My students don’t know a lot of English, but they know enough to complain.

I came here with the expression “I don’t like kids” branded into my brain. I would be lying now if I were to say that was true, though I wouldn’t be caught dead saying it.

Maybe it’s not the kids I like or their age-related sass. I think my almost-fondness towards children boils down to what everything boils down — the second law of thermodynamics. My nipples just got hard too.

The second LOT states that in any cyclic process, entropy will increase1 (or will remain the same, but we’re not going to talk about that.) Entropy is the universal tendency towards chaos.2 It can be seen everywhere and observed in anything. What was once in a neat, organized state gradually became a shitshow.

entropy

This cyclic process can be modeled as my daily routine. I come into class prepared, only to realize I am not. I try to make my students laugh and they make me laugh. Sometimes they even learn some English. Facilitating group activities and hands-on learning, I am the exact type of teacher that I hated when I was a teenager. Ugh.

Accommodating to these kid’s busy hands and minds tend to spiral into anarchy. Er… entropy.

 

entropy

I think the intention of this image was to show gas particles, but you can reimagine it as my students’ desks before and after class.

 

I know what you’re asking: Can this chaos be reversed? Yes, it can! A la energy! Energy in the form of heat. The heat of my anger, the heat of my co-teachers breath yelling in Korean, and the heat from the four cups of coffee in ingest before 10 AM.

These children need constant structure, guidance, and instruction. It is exhausting but sometimes (and boy do I emphasize that sometimes) it is amazing.

A child’s reaction to AC/DC is simply inspiring.

A little electric guitar gets these kids PUMPED to use English. If I had the same kind of motivation and energy, I would have written five books by now.

Jokes aside, my favorite part of working with small humans is their innate curiosity. Before a certain age, they don’t give a fuck about making mistakes or looking dumb. They are just trying to wrap their heads around the millions of bits of data floating around them. It’s this stoicism I admire.

It makes me feel less bad about not pursuing academic science. Kids are scientists and it’s bloody incredible. Perhaps there is more than one way of becoming a scientist. Exploring curiosity, making mistakes, and facing your fears; that’s what my students do every day in English class. They inspire me to do the same.


  1. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2017, from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/seclaw.html
  2. entropy. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved June 1, 2017 from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/entropy

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