Monday, October 26, 2009

Robin Williams would be proud...?

So, teaching. heh heh.

No seriously, that's all I have to say, heh heh. I don't even know if that's a funny 'heh heh' or what, but it's the only way to describe how I feel when I'm all alone, up in front of the class behind my little teacher desk, sometimes turning to WRITE THINGS ON THE BOARD...God, I have no idea how I ended up here! This was definitely never in my 'possibilities' list. A teacher? Granted, just the "assistant," etc., but it feels so real...I have my own classroom, the students come down to see me and sit in little rows at their desks, and my little chair and desk is all slightly elevated in the front of the room...and I WRITE THINGS ON THE BOARD. Have I mentioned I write things on the board? Most of them don't give a shit and don't actually copy anything down, but I do it anyway b/c it helps clarify what the hell I'm saying--pronouncing something and seeing it written are two very different things...I say a phrase, they stare blankly, I make fun of them, then I write it on the board and they're like 'OOOOHH oui oui'...and then they translate it into french for their fellow students who still don't get it.

Most of the kids are pretty cool...they're just totally bored with school and don't want to be there in the first place. They asked me how I felt about high school and I said I was miserable. They asked me why and I said "just's how you're SUPPOSED to be as a teenager!" And then they say, "so it's not like High School Musical?" and I groan and make extremely exaggerated motions of vomiting and say 'NON! Only losers like high school! Whatchoo tryin' to say, you like singing and dancing in class? You wanna sing a song for me right now? That's right, get up and sing me a song! American Music Only, capiche?! You back there staring off into space...that's right, YOU. You bored? In MY CLASS?! Maybe you like to do a little dance, eh? Well then get your butt outta that seat and let the class see what ya got!' Which they don't really understand but they laugh their little French laughs at the theatrics behind the message.

Yes, I'm desperate...I don't want them to hate English classes and b/c I'm so unprepared for teaching I just make loud noises and hope they don't notice I'm not actually saying anything important.

These first few weeks I'm mostly introducing myself, teaching a specific lesson here and there, yada yada yada. Sometimes I get caught off guard with how good (or how awful) the students' english is, and if I just simply can't squeeze any more discussion out of a single cartoon image or text paragraph, I'll just throw down the paper, say "enough of this crap! What are you doing for vacation? Wanna see some pictures of me drinking?" Then I do my goofy dance and make weird noises, and call out the two boys chatting in French to each other and completely ignoring what's going on in the lesson and totally make fun of them in front of everyone...The kids laugh a bit, then start laughing harder, like they didn't expect anything to be funny about English, and what the hell is this crazy American doing up there anyway.

I was meeting one of my classes for the first time the other day...the teacher was still in the room and made them ask me pre-prepared questions so she could take notes on what I said and make an English lesson out of it. One of the students raises his smarmy little hand and goes, "My frien' say you like to drink beaucoup," and after furtively glancing at the remarkably reserved and uptight teacher scribbling notes on the board I realized, HELLO I'M IN FRANCE nobody cares if you drink, and so I doubled over laughing, which made everyone else laugh b/c seriously, who laughs that hard in France, and was like, 'yar, you guys make pretty good wine over here.' And then I laughed really hard at my own sarcasm, b/c I thought it was effing hysterical, and the students kept giggling and looking over at each other trying to figure out if anyone had figured me out, which of course, no one has and no one ever will, but still, it's funny to watch them try.

Now it's obviously not all fun and games...I've had a fairly relaxed, surfer-dude-attitude first month, but from now on I can't fly so much by the seat of my pants, I actually have to engage them with activities instead of flailing in the waters of my inexperience and randomly pulling out pictures of my Parisian New Year's with Ageless or my ACL purple margaritas with Hoonie and Simms. They've all now heard the funny stories of me being a jackass, and now I need to figure out how to have some fun but still teach them something useful. My brain is having a hard time engaging, though...when I think about trying to organize a potential lesson I get all foggy and vaguely wave my mental hand in the air as if to say, 'tomorrow is another day, I'll figure out something later.' It is apparent that I must take early retirement. Like next year.


1 comment:

hairy said...

i have purple margs waiting for us kK... *le sigh*