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how not to teach

Posted by hema on September 7, 2007

i have so many of these tales, it would be impossible to fit them in one post. i think for now i’ll just focus on the blunders i’ve made this week, so as not to depress myself too much

1- student waves and asks a question in the corridor

me: remind me which one of my classes you take?

student: the one we just had. you were talking to me for about half an hour!


me: you’ve not done your homework? who’s your personal teacher?

student: you

(i have around 300 new students and they all look the same! and it’s really hard to recognise new students out of context)

2- i wear a radio aid which is connected to the hearing aid of one of the students. it basically drowns out all the background noise and the voice of whoever is wearing it is all he can hear. you’re only supposed to switch it on only when you are speaking to the whole class or him directly. but i keep forgetting to switch it off. i went into the staffroom to get some marker pens, and got a bit distracted. i ended up joining in a very private conversation. he had this little smile when i went i went back into class.

me: by any chance……

he then repeated the whole conversation back to me:(

3- me: on one side of your index card can you write down what you expect from the course, and on the other write me a joke. i feel like hearing some jokes.

student: is the second part compulsory?

me:yes, everyone has to think of one joke by the end of the lesson

(i can just imagine what the inspectors would have to say about that)

i forgot to say clean jokes though. i only got one decent one out of them:( actually the student in example 2.

i figure you have to laugh at your own mistakes sometimes. it’s what makes us human, right?

14 Responses to “how not to teach”

  1. 'liya said

    Hehe I had a student run up to me in a panic today and ask if her presentation for fifth period would count for marks. My reply “you’re my student?” .. I didn’t even know who it was! Too many names to remember 😀 Hey it’s only the first week, they can’t expect us to know hundreds of people after only 4 days!

  2. Shahrzad said

    Sometimes it is good to be teacher. Isn’t it? Waw, you are really patient! 🙂

  3. mishymoshy said

    …so what was the joke?

  4. hema said

    liya- it’s fine when they are sat in their seats. the problems start when they decide they want to move around college.

    shahrzad- i count to five when i need to stay pateint. i don’t know why that works more than anything else but it does.

    mishy- erm something along the lines of……..
    brain walks into a bar and asks for a pint
    the barman says “no chance, you’re already out of your head”
    you’re online at the same time as me. why are you not on msn? come on and tell me a joke!

  5. […] shares some sweet nothings about teaching children. me: you’ve not done your homework? who’s your personal […]

  6. absolutely , if we never made mistakes we would never have something to improve on , we would never be human either.

  7. Hafsa said

    i’m very bad @ remembering faces. People recognize me, and i don’t.. And get into trouble for it. like the incident with mb and i

  8. query said

    I wanted to ask if anyone knows the yahoo group for muslim taechers, I think I saw it on a link once before on Abu Eesa’s blog. And any advice on teaching English, I was told to do a CELTA which is worldwide recognised? Hema you teach English isn’t it, how did you go about it?

  9. hema said

    thanks ijtema for making my teaching disasters reach a wider audience:)

    confused-exactly, my dad always says it’s fine to make mistakes as long as you don’t keep on making the same ones.
    so..maybe i should make them wear name tags?!
    that’s actually a very good tip for anyone who might be teaching for an interview. it adds a personal touch. although once someone was telling me she tried that and the little *darlings* all called themselvles john. the panel let the kids get away with it to see how she would react. so she just called them john one, john two. very cool. the trick is to show them they can’t get to you.
    i can’t remember what this had to do with anything…
    hafsaaa-that sounds like something i would do!

    query- i do remember that link on abu eesa’s blog- you needed a password to enter so i didn’t bother. i tried to search it for you and couldn’t find it. sorry.
    celta is a good qualification for teaching english as a secondary language, especially if you want to go abroad but even in this country there is a demand for it.
    i did a pgce

  10. saabirah said

    Hema’s always been rubbish with names, its embarassing sometimes. Well that post just makes anyone who said you’re a good teacher wanna eat their words.

  11. justatemporarymeasure said

    i love your teaching blunders…or anyone elses for that matter they make me laugh…have you read any books by Gervase Phinn..?? he’s a school inspector and he’s wrote quite a few books about his hilarious encounters, VERY funny definitely recommend them to you….

  12. mishymoshy said

    I’m afraid the only joke that comes to mind at the mo is very un PC and would offend a lot of people. Oh how it makes me chuckle though, maybe I’ll text it you…

    Have you had any incidents on parents evenings? They must be fun! I’m sure one of my geography teachers completely forgot who I was for the first 5 minutes in high school once, I mean she always had a spaced out look about her but when I sat down it was even more so. You could tell when she remembered it though because she kept saying it again and again and started to personalise her “general” comments more.

  13. Umm Yusuf said

    heheheh. loved reading this entry!

  14. hema said

    saabirah..everyone should be called john it would be a lot easier.
    “Well that post just makes anyone who said you’re a good teacher wanna eat their words.”
    they’d probably wanna do that even more if they actually saw me teach, or speak to my students:) i told one of the boys to use a pink highlighter today. i was only joking but he used it the whole lesson. i felt a bit bad. who said they had to listen to everything i say anyway

    just a temporary and umm yusuf- i’m glad my blunders made someone laugh!

    mishy-that joke would definitely hae been edited. it’s jsut plain irresponsible(send me another one when you remember)
    i have special tactics for the new intake parents evening. usually the son/daughter doesn’t come with them so they have to say the name anyway. or we give out the reports at the door, so i ask to have a quick look at it. as a last resort, you check the register for their name and grades, and pretend you can’t see it so they point it out. clever,na?

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