teacher

“See, Miss, I have a band and I go on tour every weekend”

Oh, teaching! This is the wonderful world I willingly (and enthusiastically) entered and continually hope I don’t lose love for. In the two short months as a college adjunct, I have heard things and I have seen things that have made me laugh uncontrollably, made my jaw drop in horror and was told things I would assume only the crazies say. So, I feel, it is only fitting that I compile the, um, most interesting answers and statements I have heard whithin the four walls of my (super cool) classroom.

And now, I present them to you:

“Wait, so, do we have to memorize the vocabulary?”
-Nursing student, upon being told there would be a quiz on the unit we just completed.

“So that’s how you say that? ¡Dále!”
-Student upon learning how to say ninety-five.

“You write Kobe Bryant is better than LeBron James on that board and you walk out this classroom”.
-Quick exercise on the comparatif.

“Oh, is he tall?”
-Student’s first reaction upon seeing a picture of Omar Borkan after an exercise of superlatives.

I don’t know. Maybe he’s like 5’5, or something.

Student [holding up test]: Why did you mark this wrong?
Me [points at incomplete answer]: It was a two-part answer and you left the second half blank.
Sudent: That’s impossible.
Me: [stares].

“Oh, but Miss, I was writing something else when you were explaining that!”
-Student’s defense upon being confronted after the failure of an entire section on a quiz.

“Why would you take off points for accents!? That’s not right! You don’t do that on French 1 or French 2! You do that on French 3! That’s ridiculous!”
-Same student as above. Seems to be an expert in the matter.

Me: Anyone having any issues with the online homework?
[several hands go up]
Student [same one as the other cases]: (proudly) I don’t!
Me: All right, I’m going to speak with tech-support and-
Student without issue [cutting in]: I have been having problems, yeah!
Me: You just said you didn’t. And I already saw your progress report online. You’ve completed all the questions.
Student: No, I don’t have any problems with it.

Mhm.

Me: [After a particularly passionate, though succinct, explanation about the Basque Country and the Basque mouvement for independence].
Student: …so?

Me: [has a small heart attack after nearly misreading the following sentence on an exercise: “Malthide brosse son chat”.]
Francophone student: OH MISS YOU DIRTY!

BECAUSE EDUCATION, MAN.

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The other side of the desk

My first week as a College professor lolwut? has concluded.
It was, to say the least, the weirdest week of my life. I don’t recall booking tickets into the Twilight Zone, but it seems I was the lucky winner for an indefinite trip into a parallel dimension, with a panoramic view of my past.

It all happened my chance- I had grown *very* discouraged in my job search and I applied, for giggles, to a community college (will not disclose the name of it because, well, I don’t feel like it! :D). A week later, on a Friday afternoon, I was driving back from Ikea when I got a phone call from a very nice lady telling me that a French instructor at X Community College had to resign over a family emergency and they were now in serious need for an instructor. I pounced at the opportunity. A few hours later, I was getting bombarded with information, and 48 hours later, I had gotten a security clearance and background check, input into the system and launched into a classroom where I was to teach 21 people beginner French.

Being on the other side of the desk- to be the one with the information- is certainly a very interesting experience. It’s nothing at all like giving a class presentation. It’s serious business. It’s up to you to teach and teach right. Teach correctly, and teach passionately. It’s about infecting others with a desire to learn and to encourage them to not second-guess themselves because hey! if you did it, so can they! (and I must attest to myself as evidence- I picked up French my second year of Community College).

Now, all of this sounds very idealistic. I sound like a noob, like a rookie. And I am! But I also believe in teachers and professors. It’s these people that shaped me and pushed me to broaden my academic spectrum; the ones that pushed me to excel and get out of my comfort zone! It was also the terrible teachers/professors that I had that made me feel like I could make a difference- that anyone that comes under my tutelage will not only be taught, but taught well.
Some of the students I have took the course because, whatever, they needed an elective credit and they chose the first thing that came to mind which was French (again, maybe because we all feel entitled to all things French, as I’ve said in a previous post). Little did they know that learning French is not just about saying “J’adore”- no. It’s about culture, it’s about learning a violent history, about learning how the language they speak (English/Spanish/Creole) has been directly affected and touched by French. But aside all that, even if they don’t choose to continue, they will have been exposed to something else. Something that maybe will escape their logic, but they will remember despite the fact that it was “hard”.
It’s not about teaching a language, it’s about all the aspects that come with learning it. It’s a challenge- and if it doesn’t feel like it, if it never got weird or nonsensical at some point- then it was not done correctly.

All of a sudden I had more priorities and more things to be wary of: Did I word it right? Do they understand? Why didn’t you complete the homework? Can everybody see red on the board? Why are you not making an effort? did the photocopier seriously just jam?
I may blend in with the crowd but I can no longer check a guy out- that’s just creepy, even if there’s only like a two-year difference in age. Also, I have to deal with silly people from IT, who don’t seem to understand anything I tell them:
Me: I need the adapter to plug in my computer to the video projector.
IT: Well, there’s a computer all the way at the bottom of the desk.
Me: Yes, but it’s missing the adapter to plug the cables in. I have a Mac and have my own adapter, but the link between my Mac and the PC is missing.
IT: Well, if you have a Mac you need your own adapter.
Me: *Kicks a puppy*

Then again, this position comes with perks: Staff and faculty parking. Oh, yes. No more third-degree burns from walking in the sun. Only some pre-hypoxia when I jump in my A/C-lacking Ferrari.

So, yeah, there it is. That’s how I can condense some mayor points of my first-week experience. I will, of course, touch up on other things that I’ve observed- some injustices faced by my students, and some little victories and light-hearted anecdotes.

Stay tuned, because I finally may have found some inspiration to write again!