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Q: Have you ever made any major cock-ups in class?

  When I arrived here on my second visit back in 2005 I was asked to observe a class in which a western teacher was teaching the present perfect, and it still stands today as one of the worst examples of teaching i've yet to come across. This guy was trying to incorporate Chinese into his lesson without any understanding of what he was doing, and so went into an explanation of the 'have + past participle'  formula of the present perfect by saying, with kind of freakishly wide, scary eyes, "I 有 (pronounced 'yo') eaten dinner" after which he turned to me and explained that 有 means 'have' in Chinese (f***ing doofus). The students meanwhile couldn't have looked more confused if he'd suddenly lapsed into Russian or his head had started to spin round. It was a marvelous example for me as a relatively new teacher of what 'not' to do. 

  I've made my share of mistakes too though, from admitting defeat to the perfect tense myself during one class in my first year as a 'teacher' to getting carried away whilst having such a laugh teaching directions to a bunch of 12 year olds that I accidently let "Just take a f***ing taxi!" slip out in the middle of tackling one students repeated failure at comprehension. Felt bad about that. But s**t happens when you enjoy your job, you forget yourself. I made a similar mistake another time when a particularly bright student was explaining how the super powers of the Green Lantern were contained in his ring, and as I did my impersonation of said super-hero as an old guy carrying a lantern and struggling to see in the dark, the kid mentioned the ring and without thinking I held up my hand to include it in the mime and found myself stunned to see I was quite deliberately giving the finger to a room full of nine year olds. Felt bad about that after too.

  You must remember before condemning me that these are rare examples from ten years of teaching. I normally never swear of make offensive hand gestures at my students unless i'm drunk.

  Last example is.....kind of a weak one really, but it happened this morning and it's what made me think to post this question: it was quite simply that during my usual Sunday morning lesson, which again is with a class of nine/ten year olds, I started to use one of those chap-lip sticks (it's cold, my lips are chapped) and noticed i'd caught the attention of the students who were, until then engrossed in a task, and so I immediately took it as an opportunity to give them a laugh (any teacher knows that an injection of humour in a lesson can be extremely useful in tweeking their minds and lightening their already heavy study loads) and without acknowledging they were looking I pulled out my wallet, flipped it open like a pocket mirror and started applying the stuff like it was lip-stick, my intention being to look like an innocent housewife, the only problem being that without realizing it I inadvertently slipped into what was far far closer to an impersonation of the campest example of a New York transexual hooker I can imagine. In other words alarms bells once again went off telling me this was NOT APPROPRIATE. But then s**t - does - happen.

  You ever screwed up in class yourself?

  

5 years 46 weeks ago in  Teaching & Learning - China

 
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我不明白你写什么。你是清醒的?

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5 years 46 weeks ago
 
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No.  Yes.

Lots of things go on.

You've done really well to recount your ..... wait a sec.... just gunna crack another coldy... heheheh.... I love beer.   Um, yeah.... good job to retell your earlier capers.  Enjoyed them.  I remember one day I resented the fact that my TA  told me the correct use and pronunciation of the word 'brochure' was unimportant.  I kinda went apoplectic...(for me this registers as mild on the apoplectic scale).  Nevertheless, over time I have come to see that she was right.  How Chinese students pronounce 'brochure' is basically unimportant.  But at that moment in time it was very important to me.  Silly really.  Lillee, caught Willey, bowled Dilley.  

You're off the grog Martian?  Good luck to ya!  Happy New Year.

 

 

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5 years 46 weeks ago
 
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Tripped and fell down, split my knee open and bled everywhere. The kids were laughing, and I didn't have to work that day. They still docked my pay. cool

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5 years 46 weeks ago
 
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If you make a mistake with the teaching, just carry on, the students will be non the wiser but if you stop and correct yourself then they will know what an idiot you are!

 

Everyone makes mistakes!

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5 years 46 weeks ago
 
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No "cock-ups" in class yet. It is not summer yetangel. That's when the girls will be wearing skirts. Happy New Year.

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5 years 46 weeks ago
 
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I was really bored at work one day(Kindy), just had that instant feeling to resign and try something new, So I followed my contract, left and joined Wall Street for a year.

 

Wall~Street English is a life sucking work work work till you drop job (Before the slow down of students.) So it was my biggest cock-up for not listening to my friends and avoiding Wall Street altogether. Tax was higher too..

 

Before I told them I wasn't going to renew my contract with them, they warned us about the up coming slow down in student enrollments, so we were offered jobs in other cities or different countries.

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5 years 46 weeks ago
 
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I accidentally flipped off a class, more than once, and doing the same stupid thing every damn time. I was listing three things off on my fingers, using the Chinese hand signal for three...and then I ticked off two fingers. Fortunately, the students thought it was funny.

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5 years 20 weeks ago
 
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Two occasions spring to mind. 

1. During my very first class, the teaching assistant had not prepared a lesson plan for me (that's how it works at my school), and she had also neglected to tell me their ages, their year in school, or the material that they had been learning. You can imagine how awkward that was.

2. This is perhaps the biggest mistake I've made. During my first time teaching a certain classroom of 11 year-olds, I noticed a boy in the front row making a face at me. He was staring at me and sticking his lips out at me like a fish. Playful teacher that I am, and experienced with 11 year-old students, I smiled and made the same face back at him. After about 10 or 20 seconds of this, I realized that his mouth was actually deformed. I'd just mocked a deformed kid in front of the whole class. You can imagine how awful I felt.

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5 years 5 weeks ago
 
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