Thursday, October 05, 2006

Analogy: Not The Study Of Arses

I’ve been trying to think of a word to describe the finicky, frustrating trickiness of teaching. Besides actually being quite hard work, there’s a fiddliness to it, a splintering unpredictably.

Though it has been said, largely by one man, that I have no talent for analogies, I have nevertheless concocted a series of them in order to overstate my point.

Teaching is like:

* Shovelling fog with a garden fork

* Juggling some bees

* Trying to send a text message whilst wearing boxing gloves

* Piling Ferrero Rocher into a pyramid in preparation for the Ambassadors Reception

* Knocking one out with your left hand (I’m talking about boxing, obviously)

* Transferring beer from a half-pint glass to pint glass whilst drunk

* Collecting up all your dirty socks in one big swooping armful, dropping one, bending down to pick it up, dropping another, bending down to pick that one up as well, dropping another etc


The kids provide the thrust of this randomness. They each have their own set of variables, their own motivations, their own characteristics. Put them all in a room together and it’s like a giant random number generator with infinite educational outcomes.

For example:

you have managed to get one kid to start exercise 2, but another one has gone for a wander

you get him sat down and looking at his book

then someone is tugging at your trouser leg saying “teacher, teacher, toilet”

then one of the girls hasn’t got a pink pencil

“doesn’t matter” I say and suggest colouring the pig orange

“no, I want pink” says the girl

“well, borrow hers when she’s finished with it” I say

two boys are swordfighting with their pencils

“stop that and get on with your work” I say

“teacher, teacher, toilet” says another girl

“where’s your homework?” I say to another boy

“no homework” he replies indignantly, as if I’m an idiot for even assuming he’d done it

teacher, no blue pencil” “

“well, colour the sky.....er......just borrow his”

“ teacher, bye bye time?” says a lad

“no, not yet...10 minutes” I reply

“teacher, teacher, toilet” says another girl


Anyway you get the general idea.


Face Like A Bulldog Licking Piss Off A Thistle.....

Occasionally, things go well. Today I had a very good lesson with my 7 and 8 year olds. Everything was going according to plan.

But as the closing rhyming couplet from Dark Side Of The Moon suggests.....

Everything under the Sun is in tune
But the Sun is eclipsed by the Moon


.....someone will always spoil your fun. Namely, one particular girl. Why is she so chuffing miserable? I have spoken about her before http://philsjapanblog.blogspot.com/2006/09/hey-kids-im-groovy-teacher.html

By the look on her face, you’d think I’d personally executed Santa in front of the whole class, then spent the rest of the lesson sporting his bloodstained beard.

“No presents this year, kids; Santa has just died from his horrific injuries”

Actually, all I’ve asked her to do is run to the board and draw a picture. Not difficult.

I remember the first time I ever taught this class on my first day. Halfway through the lesson, she let out the most dejected sigh I’ve ever heard. I’ve never heard apathy sound so venomous. She just might as well have said “Go home, mate. You’re a waste of space”.

At the time, it cut me pretty deep what with it being my first day and all. But now I realise it’s just her way.

I have spoken to the School Manager about her, positioning it as concern over her lack of participation.

I resisted the urge to suggest that she “just cheer the f*** up”

1 comment:

Paul in Latvia said...

teacher, teacher, toilet...

Don't tell us you have to, um, go with them and assist them... toilet training must be a pre-requisite of language education, even in Japan?