Sunday, August 16, 2009

English class is

A couple of years back, I wrote about an Application for English Class that I have students fill out. The schools and even countries may change, but my teaching techniques don't. I have modified the application a little, resulting in some different humorous responses I can share.

Students have to plug in personal information and answer questions like "What are your strengths and weaknesses in English class," "List three things that make your extraordinary and/or different from others," and "What (or who) motivates you to pursue your goals?"

Here are some of my favorite responses to the final question, "Complete this sentence: English class is ..."
  • like chocolate. Its flavor remains even after it's over.
  • necessary for my future.
  • where you get to excell and learn an universal language.
  • cool, OK, coolest, good. one of my favorite classes.
  • very interesting compared to other classes.
  • a short story.
  • like a woman, you must cherish every moment before she walks off.
  • going to be tough but totally awesome!!
  • a piggy bank.
  • everything the teacher and students make it
  • a training ground for oblivious minds.
  • a philosophy.
  • where we learn how to transfer emotions into words.
  • ironic, in how its overall greatness cannot be put into words.
  • fun when we don't do Shakespeare.
  • an interesting class but very tricky and difficult where I have to be really confident and attentive.
  • scary and stressful, but necessary.
  • a lighthouse in a weather of mist is about to come in any second.
  • a mystery
  • a series of thriller movies that makes me awake all the time with tension.
  • a bittersweet symphony.
  • boring unless the teacher is fun.
  • a mobile phone (it helps people to communicate with one another)
  • not an elective.
  • English class is a tribunal and I am the criminal being persecuted.
I sure am glad they don't come in with any preconceived notions.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

First day fun

Walking to the library during a free period, I spot three twelfth grade guys hanging out with two new kids.

"I can't believe you're teaching them bad habits already," I say.

"Oh, come on," one of them says. "What can I possibly teach them?"

I stop. "Now that you mention it," I say, "you're right. You can't possibly teach them anything."

He laughs, and I go off on my merry way.

Today was the first day of school. I got to meet a whole new batch of kids. And so far, the kids are alright.
The eleventh graders are hilarious, because they've heard all sorts of things about me.

During one class, after explaining the syllabus, I asked, "Any questions?" Nobody moved. Nobody looked my way. So I waited. That's one of the questions about teaching, I guess. Can you wait long enough?

Finally, after an uncomfortable 45 seconds, a hand went up slowly. "Yes?" I asked.

"I heard you are a strict teacher," the new kid said. Where did he get that idea, I wondered.

"That's not a question," I said and stared him down.

"Sorry," he said, "someone told me you were strict." He looked at me expectantly.

"So what's your question?" I responded.

"Are you a strict teacher?"

I laughed. "I don't think so. But why don't you stick around and find out for yourself?"