Teacher Tales - Page Two
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This happened a long time ago, in New Zealand, in my second year of teaching. I worked in a suburban school,in Auckland and parents night was coming up, the usual chats. My last customer was a very delectable single mum and we talked much longer than the usual 15 minutes, in fact it went on for an hour. I was very tired and worn out on that cold winter night, so I went to the local sauna, which is open to all at all times,unisex, everybody naked. I was tired and the sauna was very hot. I stumbled out and fell into the plunge pool , still very dizzy from the heat. I clung to a body that was nearby......it was the delectable single mum.She too had felt the need for some heat that cold evening. It is not often that a parents evening is rounded off naked with the parent. I was just married then, but it was one hell of a temptation.
Peter Bol, Shenzhen, China
We all know how important pronunciation is - but this really brought it home. I was handing different worksheets for the students to do for homework, saying, "You do this sheet, and you do this sheet ...." After a couple of seconds, one of the South Americans asked: "Eef thees ees sheet, why are we doing eet?"
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My favorite student.
I try to make my English classes as fun as I can. But I have a student who has serious difficulties of understanding the English language. And worst of all ,she doesn't take part as the others in the games and interactions.It gets on my nerves! And I try to calm down and pretend it's not occuring. I avoid talking our native language in the classroom, and you know how hard it is to mime and do all kinds of things to make them understand. While the others are paying attention in the progress of my stories to get to the point aimed, this creature gets loking at nothing yawning,with lost eyes, and when I realize I am telling my stories and snapping my fingers at the same time beside her. And it occurs only with her. It drives me nuts!!!
If you need to go, don't just sit there...
It was my first class. A brand new teacher right out of college. It was kindergarten class that I took over in the middle of the year. Another little boy urine in another kid's mouth. There I was with a bunch of five year olds yelling and crying " He peed in his mouth." I thought my teaching career was over before it really got started. I am still a teacher. Unpaid and stressed but still an educator.
How old am I ?
Hmmmm, teaching little kids isnīt my cup of tea, but there I was teaching those little pre school kids in Brazil. We had our 'How old are you' day, and as it was my birthday, thought it would be nice having kids guessing my age, I was really feeling great turning 34, but looking something like 17+17 instead. After lauching the question, a moment of silence in the class and a little boy said.."Hmmmm 65 or maybe 75 !!!"!
My director came in to speak to me about a particularly troublesome teenager called Michel. He said 'I've just been speaking to Michel's mother about Michel'. I immediately said something along the lines of 'well, you can get straight back on the phone and tell her her son is a little shit who deserves a good few healthy whacks' (I was joking, well...sort of!). That's when my director told me that she was, er, in the office which was about 15 feet away!! She taught English at the university and had undestood every thing. Where is the hole to swallow me...?
Are you happy to teach me or...?
OK, this is truly embarrassing and I don't want this to go beyond us two. My first year of teaching was in Greece in Thessaloniki (Salonika). I had one particularly hateful class full of psycho 14 to 16 year olds. They hated me and I hated them. Let's be honest about things here! Most of them were girls who enjoyed themselves immensely not listening to anything I ever said and giggling at the least amusing moments of the academic year. I think you get the overall picture.
So it's a hot day in late May and all the students are looking out of the window or at each other and vaguely aware that there is some big American talking in the background for some strange reason. At this point, half hour into the lesson, I was desperate for the bathroom. You may or may not know that a guy who resists going to the bathroom for any extended period must pay the price in the shape of....well, in the shape of a shape in his pants. Need I explain any further?
And it's late May and this guy is in jeans and a shirt only and this guy gets up to write something on the whiteboard for the students to studiously ignore. Then Maria Thougasis enters my life. She emblazons her name on my deepest memories with a laser. 'Jeff, you have an erection'. Of course, she doesn't mean 'an erection', methinks as I am already submerged in a veritable ocean of hysterical laughter. I will not make you suffer the rest of this lesson which was the longest quarter of an hour in my life. Nor the remaining 3 weeks of the course in which I would have happily chosen anaesthetic-free castration over going into that class. I have worn a big flappy sweater in every other lesson I have ever taught...
Jeff, Regular Bathroom-User, Texas.
What's the time??
Last year I sent a progress report home to a parent of a student who was consistantly arriving late for class. His tardiness effected his progress which was reflected in his mark of 43%. the parent phoned me and accused me of being unfair and in correct in suggesting that her son was arriving late for she herself dropped him off at school everyday at 9:00, she was prepared to call the school director until I gently informed her that school started at 8:40. Don't know how her son explained that one..! Nevertheless he continued in the class !
The Frying Pan
At the end of last year when I was summoned outside because of a fight between two girls. As I ran to help two other female teachers trying to hold the girls apart I noticed a rather large frying pan on the ground near the bus. Apparently, one of the girls, a ninth grader, brought it to hit another of my students in the head for making her mad the day before. After the fight was stopped and the girl's mother came in we learned "why" she had her culinary accessory. The girl said that she went to her grandma's to cook dinner last night and "forgot she had the frying pan in her see-through mesh bookbag." To make matters worse her mother supported her unbelievable justification. I was just glad she didn't bring a microwave!!
Spanish Commuter - He's a really nice student who comes to the school every morning and sits for hours with his head in the dictionary...English is really difficult for him but he's sweet and harmless and we try to help - although sometimes it's very frustrating...I came into work one day to find my colleague looking even more depressed than he usually does on a Monday morning.
This student, who rarely speaks, had looked up from his dictionary earlier and asked tentatively where I was from. Upon my colleague replying that I was from England he seemed contented and went back to his work - before looking up again after a few minutes and saying "so she has to come here EVERY DAY? That must be a real pain!"
I've been living in Spain for 6 months now.
How oh how are we supposed to teach somebody like that?!
Filling in Forms
I teach at high school and at the beginning of the year, as I have about 18 classes, I ask the students to fill in student profiles. They usually have information on the student, written by the student, which gives me an idea of what the student is capable of in English as well as something about themselves which will help me plan the lessons in a more helpful and entertaining way. At the point " what would you like the teacher to know about you" one student wrote - "name and age". You can imagine what lesson I planned on this!!!! Perhaps I shouldn't ask stupid questions in future- duhhhhhhh.
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What I meant was...
I'm only student teaching but I have one for the ages already. It was a Friday and I was ready for the day to be over and the weekend to begin. We switch with another teacher for reading so the class was moving around putting books back and returning to the class. I was preparing for my science lesson and they were getting a little loud. I was going to quiet them down by announcing that fact that they were getting loud. So I said, "We are getting too quiet!" I don't know why I said it, and I will never forget this mistake. The class and my cooperating teacher began hysterically laughing. I laughed too because it was just too funny not to laugh. Of coarse I meant to say, "We are getting too loud!" It made the day more enjoyable, but it didn't get the class quiet.
Homan Ossian, Indiana
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Did I Say Something Wrong?
It happened one day in 1980 when I first started teaching in Casablanca in Morocco. It was a co-educational fifth grade class. Most of my students were girls -most of whom were of the Islamic extremist type.I was using 'First Things First' by L. Alexandra. During the lesson I had to explain the word 'Zip'. It occured to me that I could use the zipper on my trousers to explain the word. You see, I was doing drills. I pointed to my fly and asked the students to repeat after me. I was doing a drill on the demonstrative adjectives 'this/that' and the possessive adjectives 'my/your/his/her'.
You should have seen the expression on the face of those poor female teen students. Most of them blushed, got up, and just walked out of the classroom. They went to the principal's office. It was in the office that I explained to the princpal how rudely they had behaved. How they had refused to repeat after me and just walked out of the class. The principal asked them to give their side of the story but they were too embarrassed to say anything in my presence so the principal requested me to go over what I was doing right there in his office and he dared them not to obey my instructions.
I, once again, pointed to my fly and even before I could finish my sentence
-THIS IS MY Z... , he cried out 'STOP. 'But sir, you can't do that,' he shouted.
'Do you realize what you've just done?'
'What have I done wrong', I asked him.
'Sir, In Morocco the word you are trying to explain happens to be the same name for what you have under your fly. I was absent for a couple of weeks after that.