Last month my university offered a one month intensive TESOL certification course. Typically when this course is offered my four professors split the responsibility and teach the course together, however, while planning out who would teach what, my professors realized that two of the teaching days would fall on a government holiday and none of them wanted to loose those precious holiday hours.
So what’d they do? They call me up and asked me to fill in and teach those two days–12 total hours–for them. I agreed and pretty much felt like this:
I prepared my lessons full of class discussions, authentic activities, practical teaching tips and tools and an assignment/presentation. I was fully confident in my mad teacher training abilities and ready to teach this course.
Whelp. When expectations meet reality one is often met with disappointment and this was not exception. I was quickly acquainted with the disappointing reality of my students and while they were all adults and many already English teachers…they were absolutely NOT excited to be in this (optional) course (that they paid to be part of), nor were they eager to participate in any of the ‘student centered’ activities I had prepared for them.
After my first six hour day, I looked more like this:
It was like pulling teeth to get them to participate in any discussion (which was about 50% of my class plan for the first day), they were not at all interested in participated in the ‘learning activities’ I had prepared and the class time turned into me literally talking through my powerpoint and dismissing them an hour and a half early.
The second day wasn’t as shocking to me as I had already experienced my students innate awesomeness the day before and therefore tweaked my lesson plan accordingly; which included adding a new discussion question:
“What do you do when your student’s won’t participate in class?”
The first three hour section went fine, then we broke for lunch and came back with full bellies an hour later. This final section of our time together was devoted to their lesson plan demonstrations and should be fine. Once all the presentations were finished, we were free. Smooth sailing, right? Right?
Of course not.
As i was walking the attendance sheet around the classroom I came up to a student watching very graphic anime porn on his laptop.
In the classroom.
I was in shock.
I knew I needed to do something, I was the professional in this situation, but I literally just froze. I just stood there awkwardly running through all possible things to say to him.
Fortunately, just my loooong, awkward presence behind him was enough to make him uncomfortable and he shut it off.
I am not trained for this.
We made it through the presentations and then they left.
That evening as I wrote each student an email with their presentation scores and personal feedback, I added a special addendum for that particular student. I very professionally informed him that it’s not appropriate to be watching cartoons of that nature in the classroom and that it reflects poorly on him as a professional.
I went home that evening, again looking like this:
Of course it’s not the end.
I wish it was the end. That should be the end. But it’s not the end.
Two days ago I was sitting in the office at the School of Promise waiting for Iris to be dropped off. The office has a big window so you can watch the kids playing on the playground. As I was looking out the window a parent I didn’t quite recognize came up and sat down directly outside that window.
As he was sitting down we, unfortunately, made eye contact. The eye contact was followed by a look of familiarity in both of our eyes, then realization and then shock… and then complete and utter disbelief
It was classroom porno man.
When the principle saw (by the look on my face) that I knew this man she asked me to go tell him to park and wait behind the school.
And as much as I wanted to pretend that he was a stranger and just ignore this chance occurrence… I couldn’t. I had to go talk to him… so I did.
Samara: “Hi, uh… what are you doing here?’
Porno Guy: “…Uh… hi… my dad run’s New Life Children’s Home. Are you a teacher here?”
Samara: “…Uh huh, yep. A lot of those kids are in my class. Um, yea, will you park in the back and wait for them there?”
Porno Guy: “Yep.”
Samara: “Great.” (runs back into the office…)
Ok, so writing that conversation out makes it seem short and easy.
BUT you have to remember to add in all the flash backs and emotions tied to standing behind him as he’s watching the cartoon and my writing him the email actually addressing it.
Though the conversation was award winningly short, it was riddled with intense amounts of embarrassment and awkwardness. If death via awkwardness was possible, this would have been the scenario.
and that, dear readers, is the end.
(I so earnestly hope.)