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Teacher Tales - Page Three

teachers' tales

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One day I was having my P.E. class do a mile run and decided to run along with them. I made a little short cut behind some trees and was shocked to see one of my male students who had apparently chose to take a little break from the run and was laying down on the grass. This does not seem too odd except for the fact that he was laying on his stomach completely naked! then he saw me and scrambled for his clothes. He told me he was nudist at home and that he thought he would take a quick break and relax in the nude in the sun in a spot where nobody could see him. He didnt know that I would come back there. I laughed and told him not to worry, but to not take a chance like that again. We shared a laugh over it, and then I pointed out to him that he had a grass stain on his butt. He blushed and I said "Dont worry, your butt shouldn't embarass you, it's good that I caught a glimpse of it rather than another teacher or the principal." We acutally ended up becoming good friends after this.
Brenda, California

A lesson with advanced students after Easter and as a warmer to class I was going to ask which had the best time over the break and vote on it. The first student came in and while we were waiting I asked her how her week was. She said not good. I asked what happened and she said there was a huge train crash next her parents house. Oh, I said what about before then, what did you do I asked. I watched my neighbours house burn down and the palm tree outside my house. Oh I said, what about before that, my grandmother died.
I didn't do the warmer!!!
Chris Robinson, Spain

I was teaching English to kids in Slovenia, young learners. They really had a hard time with the plurals. One sock - two socks. OK. "One sock, two- ?!" "Sex, Miss??"
Five years later a student told me how funny it was to study 'socks'. Oops, I think. "Yes, it was so funny," she says! "1 'sock'= (Slovenian for) 'juice'", and then -2 socks!"(Thank goodness I didn't tell her my interpretation of the humour!) Guess she was too young, huh? ;)
Ana, Slovenia

My actual job is Head Teacher at the Centre d'Etude des Langues (Chamber of Commerce) in Lorient, France. However, for a certain time, the University sub-contracted with us to do English with science and maths students (bright kids with NO time or propensity to deal with foreign languages). So, I arrived on the first day and began to call roll. I got to the name "Yannick Le Floc'h", which is THE absurdly quintessential Breton name. I heard "Here", and found myself gazing at an obviously Korean young man in the front row. Unfortunately, I must have done a double-take, because I could see more-than-average hostility in his eyes. I pretended that nothing had happened, and blithely went on with my class. After the first exercise, I asked the students to come to the board to write the answers, grabbing a handful of chalk bits. As each student came up, I dropped a piece into each of their hands: white - white - white - white, and as I got to Yannick, just guess what color the chalk was? You've guessed it! The look he gave me could no longer be qualified as being just "hostile"!

We ended up being on very good terms, but I've always regretted having been the cause of pain to someone who obviously already knew the music.
Deborah Ahlen, Brittany, France

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What I Did At The Weekend
A small anecdote. In China the word for "play" and "go out" are the same. This is okay if the students are younger than 12 but when an adult tells you that he played with his girlfriend or his wife at the weekend it is time to tell them what this really means in English. So I did which caused great hilarity in the class and whenever anyone made this same mistake again the hilarity exploded. Consequently these level 2 students learnt the correct expression very quickly.
Anon, China

I was in another teachers room to borrow some video's for my history class and I started to set in an empty rolling chair. Just as I began to sit the chair rolled and I sat flat on the floor. The students roared with laughter. The teacher wanted to laugh but he contained himself. I was so embarrassed I could have crawled under the teachers desk.
B. O'Dear, Coalmon, TN

A Family Affair
During my teacher training I was doing a lesson the family. "What's your mother's name?" etc. Everything was going well, until I turned to one girl and asked, "What's your father's name?" She just looked at me, and said (in French) "I don't know. I don't know who my father is." I was mortified and don't know how I finished the lesson. From that moment I have never asked a child his or her father's name until the child clearly indicates that there is one.
Nancy Rokas, Quebec, Canada

Identical Twins
The first day in my 6th grade ESL class I had two brohters from Ecuador, who just happened to be identical twins. To make it more difficult for me their mother dressed them in the exact same outfits. When I asked one of them, "How am I ever going to tell you two apart?", he replied, "I'm the one with the blue pen."
Tom Gilbert, New Jersey.

Monkeying About
One day, one of my 8-year-old students arrived and said he was a monkey. Of course, he just wanted to call my and the other kids' attention. So he started moving like a monkey... then, he answered to my questions with just a ooh-ooh scratching his head... At first, the other kids found it was funny, and they laughed and laughed, but after some 20 minutes, they got tired of all that. But the kid still wanted to call our attention, so he jumped off chairs, and then he jumped on me, and he was hanging from my neck... well, I was teaching with a "monkey" on my back for about 5 minutes! Then, he himself got tired of it...
Marta, Barcelona.

A Spelling Lesson
I was giving a spelling lesson to a dear high school freshman from China. We were applying spelling rules to words. The word was 'apprehend'. I asked him if he knew what the word meant and he replied,"Apprehen Lincoln?"
Sharon Evans, Wisconsin,USA.

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Oh, You Could Never Tell!
To kill time while we were waiting for a student who was late for class I was making converstaion. I asked the students (beginner intermediate grade 5-7) how they find their schools. One student said that in her school there are many (she takes out the electronic dictionary) "Hebrews".
"Jewish people?" I asked.
"Yes," she said.
"I don't like Jewish people," she continued.
Pause.
"Do you like Jewish people," she asked me.
"I am Jewish," I said.
Tali, Toronto

Give Us A Hard Question.
When I taught in first grade one year ago I had a lot of fun with children. My class is very clever, because our school is specialized in languages. First month children learnt about plus and minus. I asked my pupil Adam, a 6 year old boy, "what is a result of this example '3 minus 3'?" Adam answered me:" the result is 0 because it is the same example as 1,000,000 - 1,000,000.
Lenka Kupcakova

Boring Jobs We Have Done in the Past.
I teach ESOL in a College in central London, UK. One of our study modules is called "Getting things Done" where students practice completing application forms, CVs etc... Naturally, a conversation about work started and the students had to give a past simple example of the job they used to do in their own country. One answer that has kept us laughing for years was: I was a building (builder). I really love my job!
Denise, London

Progressive Religions of the World, Part 7.
I teach ESl at a local private school. One of my students is a preacher's daughter. A question on a homework worksheet asked to name two books on her shelf. She wrote "The Bible and Hymens".
Tali, Toronto

Battle of Wills.
In North America we love the sun. When it comes out we like to play in it and take walks and have picnics in it. When it comes to living and working in other cultures we assume that the values of the culture we work among are the same. Not true! We learn everything from our parents. We learn language, how to eat with a fork, and we learn how to tie our shoes. We even learn about the sun.

Saudi Arabia has a hot season and a cool season. during the cool season I was teaching in my class and I noticed that the sun came out from behind the clouds. I thought it would be a great idea to allow the sun in so I opened the blinds. I felt great! Here is the sun! My students were constantly letting the blinds down. I pulled the cord to open the blinds and they lowered them again.

I was getting irritated and my students were too. I finally allowed them to keep the blinds down and I could visibly see the relief on the faces of my students! It was about 72ºF outside and I began to wonder about what I was seeing. You see my culture taught me that the sun was ok. Their culture taught them that the sun was a menace to hide from. If they didn't hide from it there through the ages the people would have been destroyed! Psychologically we feel better when we see the sun and psychologically they feel worse when the sun comes out! We learn new things from one another daily!
Richard Whiteman, (was teaching in) Saudi Arabia.

English Proverbs

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Reasons To Learn English.
I was teaching an intermediate class and the students range in age from16 to 35. The most challenging student of the class was a dentist who insisted he wanted to be fluent by the time he was going to leave for his trip to Europe. He is single,and I believe he will remain in this this condition for some time. He wanted some expressions to meet potential girlfriends and he knew English was the only true common denominator. The class agreed to have a lesson in useful expressions when you want to meet someone and hope the first impression is a good one. We practised several expressions....Hi I'm new here and don't really know my way around etc. He wanted to get more personal....You have a great laugh or you are very interesting. He wanted some vocabulary and expressions to compliment body parts...I really love the color of your hair etc. well here is the expression that broke up the class...You really have big ass...He meant eyes but Mario didn't want to take the time for a pronunciation class and try as we might we couldn't get him to pronounce eyes so it did't sound like ass. Suggestion - leave the eyes out of any conversation!!!!!
Elsie Ross, Yucatan Mexico

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