I aspire to teach (apparently I'm now certified to, how weird it that?) and inspire.
I will be a friend, shoulder, ear or open heart.
Remember to smile today!
candyga1 said: Can you post twice a day, I wake up early just to read your blog, and If not will u at least tell me the most embarrassing moment in your career
I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. That means a lot to me that you’ve shared that. Unfortunately, I’m unable to post twice a day, so I will share my most embarrassing teaching moment. (And, of course, I’ve changed the person’s name and details as usual.)
Early in my career, I taught a class of English as a Second Language students. They were great, but one of them stood out: Joey. He was awesome. He was a teacher’s dream: enthusiastic, whip smart, encouraging to his peers, and most importantly, laughed at all my jokes.
He always had a smile on his face. He had these chubby, red cheeks, and a bowl-cut, which totally reminded me of the one I grew up with. He was like the son I never had. So often, I’d walk by his desk, put him in a headlock, give him a noogie on the top of his head. He loved it.
One day, I planned to teach his class how to write an essay. And when I announced it, the whole class groaned. They wanted no part of it. But I expected this. So I explained to them, “Hey, essays aren’t so scary. In fact, we talk loosely in essay form quite often. Can I get a volunteer?”
No one moved. Joey looked around, saw the apathy of his peers, and up went his hand. Joey rocked.
So, I had him sit on a stool at the front. Behind him on the board, I’d written the word THESIS, with the numbers one, two and three underneath in a column.
So I said to Joey, “From now on, we’re not teacher and student. We’re friends. Got it?” Joey goes, “Got it.” Because he’s awesome.
Then, I said, “Thesis: we should hang out at the mall today after school.” And I wrote it on the board. “Any questions?”
And Joey goes, “Why?” Perfect.
“Because, Joey, there’s nothing to do at school.” And I write on the board, There’s nothing to do at school. And then I went into the details of how none of the clubs are cool enough for us, how sports are so lame for people like us. And the students were laughing. They were thoroughly enjoying my demonstration.
“Number two, Joey. I need to buy new pants.” I write on the board, I need to buy new pants. Then I talked about how ill-fitting my jeans were and old-fashioned and how Joey’s got great taste in clothes. And how I needed his fashion sense to help salvage my wardrobe. And I see some heads nodding. The students are starting to get it.
“And finally, Joey, we have to go to the mall cuz…that’s where all the girls are.” The students lose it on this one. They’re laughing, because they’re hearing their teacher talk like this. So I write it on the board. And Joey’s howling. He can barely breath from laughter, because he’s awesome.
And this is when a student named Janet raised her hand. This was a student who loved interrupting my lessons whenever she had a chance. It was like a game for her to see if she could throw me off.
I go, “Not now Janet.” And barrel on. And I continue, “Joey, we’re two okay looking dudes. You know, I’m sure you do well with the ladies, as do I, but imagine what we could do, if we just combined our forces.”
And Janet’s hand goes up again. And she’s calling out, “Sir! Sir!”
And I’m like, “Janet, right now, it’s about Joey. It’s not about you. Not today.” The kids are rolling with fits of laughter.
And I’m trying to hurry before Janet loses it. “Joey, imagine you and me at the food court. Can imagine how many girls we could get? It would be one for the ages.” And Joey’s almost falling off his stool, the kids are screaming in fits of laughter, and Janet loses it and yells, “Sir! Joey’s a girl!!!”
And I looked at Joey. And for the first time, I noticed things about Joey that I hadn’t noticed before. The loose-fitting clothes. The ubiquitous flannel jacket. And the bowl-cut was suddenly not so much a bowl-cut…but a bob.
And with utter dread, I thought back to all the times I put Joey in a headlock, and noogied her in the head.
What do you say at a moment like that? I remember what I said. I told Joey to go back to her seat. I told the students that class was over. And I sat down and slumped at my desk trying my best not to cry. After class, I did my best to apologize but Joey kept saying not to worry about it. But there was nothing she could have said to help me shake the mortification I felt for her.
That was a Friday. When I got back to work on Monday, who’s there waiting for me outside my door? Joey. And, as usual, she was all smiles. We went into the class. I made sure I didn’t touch her. She tried to console me, which is backwards because she’s the one I embarrassed in front of all her peers. She told me not to feel badly because she gets mistaken for a guy all the time, and she likes it.
I sat at my desk and she sat across from me. And she gave me a card. It was long, but the part I will share is where she wrote, “You are still my favorite teacher. So please don’t change the way you treat me.”
And she did the coolest thing: she leaned the top of her head towards me. At first, I didn’t know why, but then I clued in. And I rubbed my knuckles on her head.