Each week, children die and there is nothing their mothers and I can do but watch. They choke, gasp for air, their faces red, their chubby little arms and legs flapping wildly on the carpeted floor.

Stop it, sensei!!!” they shriek when I cruelly give them a 10-second time limit in which to color their assignments. “Stop it! Too fast!!” And they scribble furiously, gasping until it’s over.

“Silly sensei!!” they howl, when I purposely call a flashcard by its wrong name. “Silly!!!!” Their heads and palms hit the floor with fluttering thuds.

“You messed up, Ribu sensei!!!” they screech when I forget the words to a song. Their squeals dissolve into hiccups and before I know it, I’ve lost several more.

Each week, the children die of laughter. And somehow, they live to tell the tale.

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