I told my mom the other night that I don’t think I was meant to be a teacher and she replied with, “Oh really? Who would have guessed…” (There wasnt even a hint of sarcasm in her voice.) But she recovered quickly by saying she thinks that just because I am uncomfortable around babies (truth) doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be a good teacher. Thanks Mama, you are too kind. 😉
Some days I really enjoy being a teacher. Some of my classes are full of 50 little angels (well…there are a few crooked halos in the bunch). These students sit quietly, they participate, they do their work, the give me little gifts and help carry my bags back to my office. They. are. wonderful. I truly enjoy going to those classes and the two hours just fly by. We get through the lesson, we play games, and we all skip away as happy as a fat kid with cake.
But there are some classes…I don’t know what pit from hell these little nightmares were dragged from but I have never experienced anything like it. I actually dread going into these classes. I know nothing will get done, I know they will not learn a thing, I know I will be lucky to get even one full minute of pure silence and if it’s a really good day I get at least half of my students to turn in any classwork. A day has not gone past where no one gets kicked out of class and it’s a great day if we all walk away burn free (and no I don’t mean that figuratively). I want to scream and pull all my hair out in frustration for those two hours before dragging myself out of those classrooms completely drained of energy while seriously considering yoga to calm myself down. I dont know what sort of awful deeds I have done in my life to deserve days like these but oh my Buddha…karma is not kind.
I was unfortunate to have one of those classes today. They are always uncontrollable, disrespectful, loud, and truly possessed by some sort of chaos demon. I dread this class every week. But today…today something happened. As I was trying to teach this class opposites they were all having their own conversations, throwing paper planes, playing on their phones, and going in and out of the classroom. They couldn’t even write a sentence telling me something that was big and something that was small despite multiple examples. I even wrote a sentence on the board for them to simply copy and they couldn’t do that. We were an hour in and nothing had been accomplished; I had spent the whole time trying to talk over the roar and after yelling, “Be quiet!!” for the 5th time in a row I kind of lost it (ok I totally lost it). I stood for a moment, helpless before the chaos ensuing in front of me and I unleashed some chaos of my own. “Why???” I wailed, “Why can you not just STOP TALKING for two freaking minutes?! Why can’t you just shu-……zip it!” This tirade was followed by me doing a truly insane little dance across the front of the class as I pantomimed zipping my lips together and trying to talk but being unable to.
You could have heard a pin drop.
They all stared in silence as I stood there, arms dropping to halfway down my side like snarled tree branches and lips puffed out from words being confined behind my “zipped” lips.
They were actually quiet for three whole minutes!! After that whenever they got too loud I would yell, “zip it!” and they would all pretend to zip their lips shut and quiet down for a minute or two. You have no idea how magical that silence is. I suppose I should feel a little bit bad that I am using rude slang that they don’t understand to tell them to shut up, but I don’t. I don’t feel bad at all. In fact I think we are all quite lucky I only yelled zip it instead of what was actually going through my head.
They still didn’t learn much, but at least they were quiet…er. Sort of.