Friday, 7 August 2009

"and she cried lacrymatory tears" (student's writing in junior two)

Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001
From: Ceels
Subject: "and she cried lacrymatory tears" (student's writing in junior two)

Although I feel foolish to have to admit this, I discovered this week that the most important part of teaching is learning your students' names. I decided on Wednesday I was sick of pointing and saying 'you!' when I wanted someone to do something. So I made an effort to use people's names, or used the role when I couldn't remember. And once the students realised I was making an effort to remember, they began to help me, not just with names (Richard, make Richard do it) but with everything. I can't believe it took me four and a half weeks to realise something so obvious. Of course when I sat down to work out how many photocopies I need, I discovered I teach 920 students a week (is it any wonder I can't remember them all). The kids all think I am very cool, as a result I am learning to be very cool. This is a new thing for me as usually I fall closer to dork along the cool to dork continuum.

I got on the wrong bus on the way here. I am suspicious of buses at the best of times. I am never entirely convinced that they are going to go the way that they are supposed to go. Add to that not knowing where they're supposed to go and having no common language in which to ask the driver and you have a very nervous girl indeed. Still, I am learning bit by bit what numbers go where, which is also how I came to be stuck in a traffic jam for an hour the other day. The traffic jam left me with plenty of time to wonder why the driver had a kitchen knife and an iron rod on the dashboard.

I read some news reports about Oz the other day. All that seems to be happening is floods and droughts and also that John Howard, leader of the ruling coalition party, was in serious trouble for the next election. I had as much trouble explaining to Melinda why I found the coalition being described as ‘the ruling party’ funny, as I did trying to explain Easter, except I think I know even less about Easter than I do about the coalition.

'So why do you eat hot cross buns and chocolate eggs?'
'Well, you know Jesus?'
'Ah, well, um you know the bible?'
'Okay, you know Christianity?'
(There followed a scuffling of dictionaries)
'So, in Christianity there was a man called Jesus and on Easter Friday, I mean Good Friday he was crucified.'
'Oh, he was taken away?'
'Um, no, he was nailed to a cross.'
(a look of horror)
'Or maybe they nailed him to the cross on another day and he died on Friday. Anyway, the he rose from the dead on Sunday.'
(a look of disbelief)
'He came back to life and, oh any way, we eat eggs then to celebrate.'
and I gave up.

Okay, I have my phone number now, (and because I know that everyone wants to call, I am going to tell you) it is (010) 68885555. I am considering losing it again so that I can tell people that I don't know what it is. If I tell people they just call me to ask irritating things like can I help them/ their family/ their friends/ their friends’ families with English after school/ in the mornings/ at lunch time/ on the weekends (the answer is no and will continue to be no).

love you

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