Teacher Tales - Page Five
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The teachers` misreading, with a little boy and a university student. A low level lesson, for prepositions, in which someone always asks what a moustache is. that day it was the little boy, and after running through it with him with a quick preposition listening task using the picture, pretty spiffy I thought at the time, and still getting that unsure look (god kids can be daft, I thought), I noticed the nice prepubescent growth he himself had. "look mate, you`ve got one, above your lip` I said, brushing my own to illustrate where. he must feel pretty wicked I thought, being eight and already having one. but he just seemed more confused. I got the university student in on it, but he didn`t seem too keen either. two complete boring people, I concluded, feeling a bit miffed my fantastic teaching initiative went completely unappreciated. anyway, end of lesson, back in the teachers room, complaining to other teachers about boring students to which superior teacher says, `I think she`s a girl Mike.`
The first day of class, (That I volunteer to teach I don't get paid), I told the third grade students to open their books to page three. So, when we were finished with lesson one, I asked them to open their activity books. One boy complained,"This lady is driving me crazy!" Needless to say, he dropped out and never came back again. Several monthes later,I was working at my part-time job one day and his mom, sister and him were shopping. His mother said rather loudly "Hey, there is that lady who was driving you crazy!" Needless to say, I felt extremely humilated and thought it was rather rude.
I teach English at several different elementary schools in Japan, and my students' pronounciation is less than brilliant. One class, a Japanese teacher suggested that we do a cooking demonstration so that my 7 year old students could learn what American kids eat. I figured it would be easy -- peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches. When I got to the class, the Japanese teacher proudly announced to everybody that we would be eating "penis-butter." It caught me so off guard that I didn't correct him. The next thing I knew, all my 7 year olds were shouting things like, "Mmm, yummy penis-butter!" I didn't have it in me to correct everybody at that point, so for the 50 minute period, I just sat there laughing my ass off.
I am an ESL teacher but this happened to me in Russia. I was at a busstop and a man offered me to smoke-- which in Russian sounds like "Kurish?" and to which I responded "Nyet, Ya ne Kuritsa" Which means, "No, I am not a chicken."
Heather Denton, Oregon, USA
I had just taught one of my Korean students that 'ph' makes the 'f' sound. We went over several words to cement the idea: 'telephone'; 'phrase'; etc. Then and I asked her to read to me from a book. She read: "He saw the shefferd tending his-" I stopped her, saying " 'Shefferd'?" She nodded and pointed to the word 'shepherd'. After I'd told her that 'ph' makes the 'f' sound as a rule, she had to find an exception! 'Welcome to the English language', I thought.
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I was doing an exercise one day about occupations, workplaces and so forth. I the proceeded to ask where each student's mother or father did and where they worked. One students shouted out 'Liar, liar!' I was quite surporised that this boy should call his father a liar. Then he said that that his father worked in a courthouse. 'Oh!' I said. 'You mean LAWyer. Same same.' Lots of laughing.
Summer in the Philippines starts from April to May, and the heat can get to both student and teacher even with the AC on. I had one particular student in writing who had a class with me from Monday to Friday for three weeks from 1-3pm. Unfortunately, the student often took a nap right after every seatwork I gave him. In one instance, he slept for the most part of the class and could hardly stay awake that I was able to write a letter to my sister on five sheets of yellow pad. With all the noise I was making, continued to sleep like a log.
Ruth, Manila, Philippines
I teach in Korea and many people here seem oblivious to the fact that there are white people that are Africans. In fact the children are very concerned about me not being black. That was until one of my kindergarten studebts came up with the theory that Korea was colder than South Africe and therefore I lost my color here. Seems logical.
Dave, South Africa
It was raining cat and dog outside, and the whole class seemed to be distracted from the lesson. And I asked them loudly: "It's raining so heavily, can you hear me?". All replied (very loudly, too): "NO"
Who dare say they didn't hear me???
I was teaching ESL to 5 Mexican workers at their workplace, when 2 new hires with almost no English joined us. In the lesson, students were to fill in a form for a library card. My "regulars" knew enough to do this easily, but the newcomers only looked blank. On the dry erase board, I drew a copy of the form in their workbooks, and under the line wrote "(your name)". I heard a snicker a moment later and looked around to see the new students carefully writing in, "Your Name." I was so surprised and so sad to see how little they comprehended that I broke into Spanish and said, "Escriba SU nombre, por favor." The two of them looked at each other, and light dawned! They swiftly erased and wrote in their names as I glared in the direction of the student who had snickered.
Bonnie, Arkansas, U.S.A.
I was teaching my high school students for the first time. They started introducing themselves. Telling me their names, hobbies and interests. There was one student in the classroom who told me he had an unusual name because his father comes from different country. He said he was Atanas. I wrote it down and didnīt pay much interest to it. But later on I wanted this boy to answer my question and I called him "Satanas". My students werenīt able to continue and neither was I. I think I created a perfect nickname for this boy.
Jane, Czech Republic
I was trying to teach the 4yr old i have about why snakes dont live in Alaska .they seemed very ingrosted then at the end of the lesson i asked why they thought snakes didn't live in Alaska . One child looked at me and said "Because their little tounges would freeze to the ground." tell me is that not some indepthed thinking about snakes?
One of my best stories doesn't come from one of my classrooms, but instead, from my own home. While working with my son (almost 3yrs. old at the time). We were working with a picture book of different vehicles where he would name the type of "truck". Fire Truck, police car, snow plow and so on. When he got to the postal truck he had a little trouble. So, I prompted him with "this truck delivers things to our our mailbox". The light came on and he replied confidently with "It's a BILL truck!"
I asked my students, as a warm up activity, to tell each other something they like, something they dislike, something they do well and something they donīt do well. A very nice gentleman turned to me and said: " I do my girlfriend well." I asked him if he knew what he was saying and he said he meant he liked her very much. Of course, I laughed and then I explained to him what he had said and, I might add, that was emberrassing for both of us. But it turned out OK.
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I am an EFL teacher in one of the private schools in Dalian City, China. One day , when I was giving lessons to grade 6 chinese students,one student in my class suddenly blurted out that he wanted an american teacher not a filipino teacher. I felt really bad about this. I went out of the room and tried to cool down. I was offended by what he said. Still, my hopes are high about teaching here. I love teaching and that experience should be forgotten.
Nathalee , Dalian City, China
First period on a Tuesday morning and I was teaching a first year class with another teacher. 5 minutes after the start of class I noticed a girl sitting at the back of the room with her attention being drawn to something in her school bag. Assuming that she was using her bag to hide that fact that she was using her mobile phone in class (a common activity despite it being against school rules) I began to approach her to ask her to put it away. This was until a kitten stuck its head out of her school bag. I find that the funniest part of this episode isn't that she had a cat in class, but rather despite the odd "meow" and the students around her been particularily restless and distracted, the Japanese teacher didn't notice the kitten at any point during the entire period!
It was my first time to teach in the university.I was then wearing a light blue, fitted dress. I was so confident raising my arms to explain things and was so engrossed with my teaching that I didn't notice the reactions of my students. When the bell rang, a group of my female students approached me and told me that I had wet underarms!! I was so exasperated that I never wore the blouse again (my students might remember the INCIDENT!! eeek). No thanks to my sister-in-law who sold me a deo stick which she claims to be very effective!
April Mae, Thailand
I was in Dalian for a couple years studying Chinese and teaching English. I didn't have a lot of experience before I started teaching so I would get nervous in front of classes with as many as 40 or 50 young students. One day I was writing words on the board to use during a pronunciation exercise when one of the students stood up and told me that I had misspelled a word! (it was "banana" :P) Thinking quickly of a way not to appear totally ridiculous in front of my class I replied "Good for you! You caught it! Why is no one paying attention? Only one person knew that this word is misspelled! From now on everyone must pay more attention in class!" Low and dirty, I know...but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. sigh!
Natalie , Dalian, China
When I first started out as an EFL teacher here I hosted a class for elmentary beginners. As a simple exercise I paired the students and had them use their hands, in silence, to show numbers which the other pair would say outloud. As the activity progressed I noticed one of the weaker student pairs having problems. I went up and demonstrated the exercise. Then I asked them to practise with me to ensure they understood. The student made the "V" sign. After class I discovered that in Hungary "2" is shown this way. At the next lesson I explained the problem to the students amongst much embarrasment and laughter on the part of the students.
P.S. It is also common in Hungary to point using the middle finger, but that's another story
Justin Morgan, Hungary