In Malay, dada means chest. Wikipedia tells me that “The origin of the name Dada is unclear; some believe that it is a nonsensical word. Others maintain that it originates from the Romanian artists Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco’s frequent use of the words da, da, meaning yes, yes in the Romanian language. Another theory says that the name “Dada” came during a meeting of the group when a paper knife stuck into a French-German dictionary happened to point to ‘dada’, a French word for ‘hobbyhorse'”.

I teach a teenager who suffers from a heart problem. His teachers are worried he won’t be able to get a job because he won’t be able to drive. The first couple of months, I wasn’t worried about him at all. I wanted to bitchslap this kid across the room because he was unbelievably uncooperative, uninterested, and dismissively rude. Then one day in class I talked about how I really liked Radwimps. Not a lie, because I do like them, but not entirely the truth, because I don’t know as much about them as I would if I really liked them. But I knew they were a popular band, and I figured Backstreet Boys wasn’t going to cut it. This kid suddenly woke up and started spouting random information about the band I could barely understand. A couple of weeks later, after I had asked some of the other kids for their music recommendations in my weekly letter, he┬ácornered me and made me write down all his recommended Radwimps songs. This kid even started singing some of them. Made me promise to listen.

Teaching is an art, but a lot of good teaching is destructive. You try and break down the concepts that kids come to school with. You try and break down their ideas about what teachers are. You try and destroy that part of yourself that tells you it’s easier just to deal with the kids who will do what you tell them to do, who will not make you feel like a fool, who will react the way you want them too.