Teacher Tales - Page Seven
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I had an in company course at 7 am which was an awful shedule for me since it was so early. One morning as I was getting ready for my class I had run out of rouge so I used my lipstick and made dots on my cheeks to spread and have some color on face . But when started the class all my students who were businessmen were staring at me and I thought something is wrong...I had forgotten to rub the dots from my cheeks!! ps: I}d like to get in touch with other esl teachers my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Anabel Diaz, Argentina
I work in a school with a high NESB content. I was covering for a kindly teacher in the first few days of school she told me to keep an eye on a child called Johnothan because he did not seem to be responding to her at all. So during the course of the day I tried calling him every variation of the name i could think of. He seemed to only respond if I tapped him on the shoulder. I was frustrated and begining to fear that the child was deaf because it was nearly impossible to get his attention. When his mother came to pick him up i mentioned this to her and she replied "oh we forgot to tell him his English name, at home his name is Oka". So the poor kid wasn't deaf and he was withdrawing because he thought we had forgotten he was there.
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During my first lesson with a French executive in a high-power company, I asked him to describe his work. He replied immediately, "I work a lot with American gays." "With American gays?" I repeated. "Yes," he said, "I go to New York and I work with American gays. Oh, I know a lot of New York gays!"
Wow, I thought.
Our next lessons were peppered with comments. "American gays eat sandwiches all the time," he'd announce. "American gays drink Coca-Cola for breakfast." Finally, after two months, we were working on phonetics. My student suddenly looked up from his worksheet, frowned at me, and said, "You know how we're always talking about American gays?" "Yes," I said. "Well," he said, "Could I mean "'American GUYS?' "
name withheld, France
I wonder sometimes about how far I've come. You see I went to a pretty crappy school as a kid. You know, the kind of school where about the only gift that pupils brought in were head lice and stolen goods.
Since these long gone days though I've managed to live in sunny San Francisco, (a name only equalled by the Cape of Good Hope for it's misdirection), Milan and the Maldives. I've taught in companies as prestigous as the Hilton Hotel and Nokia. I've swum with sharks and played drums to wild Buffalo and Deer, and I must admit to allowing a smattering of smugness to cross my face from time to time for the things I've seen and done.
However, I was brought down to earth recently when I went to work in S.Italy in a small town called Portenza. It was whilst I was sitting on a toilet teaching a group of teenagers in a delapidated bathroom that I was once again reminded of the grand cycle of life that showed me that you only really know how far you've gone when you get back to where you started...in a really crappy school!
I have taught English in South Korea for 8 years now. Those of you who have "been there, done that" know -- the "mandatory" introductory questions -- "Are you married?, How old are you, Do you like Korean food?" etc. Well, some of my older students insist on using their faithfull, tried and true dictionaries from middle school days. If you can find one, you will see that the word "virgin" is difined as, "an unmarried woman". (cultural sensativities of the times you know) So, yes you've guessed it. If I had just one American dollar for every student who has asked me, "Teacher, are you a virgin?" I'd have me a nice vacation home on Che Ju Island by now! Hey, it's better than coffee as an eye opener on a Monday morning!
I teach an ESL class with a large number of monks in the class. At the end of one lesson, one particularly keen monk wanted to know the word for a person who controls people and sells sexual favors from children. I was of course, stunned because this was the last person I would expect to ask me this. So I had to explain what a pimp was to this monk. It was kind of strange that he would want to know this information, but he told me he needed to know for a paper he's writing in his philosophy class.
I teach ESL to adults from all over the world (all mixed up into one classroom). Well, I have an older student, a Rusian man of 72 years. He always sits in the closest seat near me and has to wear hearing aides in order to hear well. He's always been very "needy" of my attention. One day he stayed after class. All the other students had left the room and had closed both of the doors of my classroom. Not long after the man starts complimenting me and came over and he grabbed my head and kissed me right on the lips! I about died of shock! He forced himself on me and I simply couldn't push him away... he was way too strong. Of course, I had some choice words to say after he did that. I was hoping he would never return to class after that event, but it hasn't stopped him from coming. Now, I always make sure the doors stay open after my class is finished. If he appears as if he is going to hang around after class, I put my coat on and quickly make my escape. You just never know about people!
Ellen, South Carolina
I was teaching a Sunday school class to spanish-speaking children in a church that spanish-speaking congregation borrowed from Americans. The class of 4-6 years olds made puppets and I told them we were going to keep them in the church to use the next time. One very concerned 4-year-old told me we shouldn't do that because "los marijuanos" would take them. When I asked who were "los marijuanos" he nicely explained to me, "los marijuanos" that own the church. I never realized how much "marijuanos" and "americanos" sound alike. I got a big kick out of that!
We were doing suffixes one day and were talking about "-cide" meaning "to kill". We knew that suicide was killing yourself and we also knew homicide, matricide, genocide,infanticide, insecticide and even regicide. I asked the class what they thought, therefore, īthat "germicide" killed.
A shy girl at the front put her hand up very earnestly.."Germans?" she asked.
Once I was teaching a class of female teenagers. One of the student's mother was the servant of the same school and I knew that but I had never seen her. Leila was a good and friendly student. One day we came up with the word "cross-eyed". To make them understand and also to make the class laugh I tried to show it in practice and students laughed. Some minutes later,somebody knocked the door. I opened the door. Gee! There was a lady who was cross-eyed. She said: Hi,I am Leila's mother. Can I talk to her? I felt the roof has collapsed...
Fatemeh Mahjour, Iran
Classroom management is a difficult issue for beginning teachers. My story... when I wanted students to be quiet and sit down I said in German "Setzt euch bitte und sei ruhig." This worked for most students, but one student always wanted to take classroom management into his own hands. He shouted "Sit down and shut up one day." Being the patient beggining teacher that I am I politly informed him "... you're the only student still standing."
This is my first teaching position, and I was preparing a class of third year university students for oral presentations in front of about 25 of their class mates, on a current affairs topic and I told them that they would be stood at the front of the class...not too bad I thought...until I heard a sharp breath (of shock and horror)from one of the students. Next thing I know, a student is packing his bag and RUNNING out of the class, quickly followed by his partner!!!! I started to lock the door after that! ...and I am sure we have ALL done the same trick that Natalie in Dalian did...I know I have!!!
Karl, ZhengZhou, China
I teach ESL to elementary students. I had just started at a new school where the majority of the immigrants were from Portugal. I had a group of 5 or 6 Grade 1 students working with me. This group was learning to identify and name the colors in English. I asked one little boy to repeat them after me and when I got to the color yellow I said, "Mario, say Yellow!" and he did. Then I asked him how to say yellow in Portuguese. He hesitated a moment then looked at me and said, "How should I know, I'm Romanian." Out of the mouthes of babes.
Lorraine Harrison, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
The first day I worked with that class: we were working on the third person in the Present Simple, there's a writing task in the book: write about a person you know, your passage shoud include the following information: his/her name, age, address, job, family (these items are listed in the book).
A boy raised his hand: "But I don't have enough information . . ." I replied:" They're all in your book." He continued:". . . about you."