Notes from afield: (humorous) classroom observations

If my mental math isn’t failing me, I’ve been teaching for about 12 years, which means I haven’t had the good sense to hook, reel, and catch a ‘sugar daddy’. Nor have I been able to launch my misplaced passion for writing into any lucrative side hustle or ‘cash cow’.

Throughout the years, I’ve come to understand the balancing act of bladder control, why teachers drink and smoke, and the utter exhaustion that comes from ‘working with’ students in a room in which there is no escape for a period of time.

When folks first teach abroad one of the first things they notice are the differences, and we are eager to share our newfound knowledge! But here’s a short list of the similarities I’ve noticed from teaching both in America and Asia.

N is for nose picking. It turns out that everyone enjoys ‘digging for gold’. I usually stare at the offender while they are two knuckles deep, and continue to stare until they stop. Results may vary.

S is for spaz. Yeah, there’s usually one in every class. Typically it’s a male, but I’ve got a female student who likes to circle the room and socialize like a debutante showing too much skin and teeth. It’s amazing how quick she is to pose in front of a camera, like a sunflower towards the light.

B is for blockhead, body odor, and brainy. (I don’t believe this needs explaining.)

L is for lipstick. I came into class wearing my new red lipstick. Not two minutes later my preteens started dabbing on color on their lips and cheeks. I haven’t tried to ‘ol underwear on the head yet, but I’d imagine my boys would soon follow.

D is for daydreamer and dozing. We all stare off from time to time, but it’s another thing when you see students doing it. No, I’m not a Sargent trying to keep his soldiers awake during a night watch, but I’m not running an old folks home either. It’s more like the airline stewardess hitting you with the inflight trolley when you’ve finally fallen asleep during a red-eye.

C is for copying. Dear parents, this is where the students really excel in ‘collaborate work’ and using their creative minds to get the tasks done.

F is for farts. By both yours truly and the students. The difference is we empty the classroom when it’s one of the students.

H is for hugs. They’re sweet. One of the perks of the job. Way better than the free instant coffee in the teachers room that stains your teeth.

12 thoughts on “Notes from afield: (humorous) classroom observations

  1. I am C! I never understand the concept of doing homework after school (especially on the subjects that I didn’t enjoy, which were most of them) — some might call it laziness, I call copying my friends’ homework, with their approval, as a survival skill.

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    1. Ha! Yes, the idea of reinforcing what we covered in the classroom is CrAzY 😛 But I totally understand which is why I don’t care when they do it. I mean, I care, but I’m not going to throw the workbooks across the room – yet.

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  2. Oh, I have a story similar to the lipstick! I dyed the ends of my hair red in Colombia, following my students’ lead (and hey, why not?) and most of them said “WOW, TEACHER YOU LOOK LIKE US!” Only one student came up to me after and said “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY YOU RUINED YOUR HAIIIIIIIIIIIIR…” Said student had blue ends… 😉
    But the hugs, yes, are definitely the very best part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know you taught in Colombia! The stories of crime put me off, but I taught in Ecuador and it was sort of similar (I’m guessing). I did hear great things about Colombia, too. I still want to return to S. Am and see the whole continent!

      Yes, I wanted to dye my hair like my students, too. Hahhaaha, but I got too lazy to do it.

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    1. I think it GREATLY depends on where you are at in the country and what age group you are teaching. But I can see where you are going and I will say that student respectfulness has declined in the years that I’ve been here. Another big change I’ve noticed is the addiction to smart phones.

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  3. Lol at the one where you put on lipstick and the preteen girl students proceed to put colour on their cheeks 😛 It has been a while since I have been in school. But I remember back then that wearing lipstick or any kind of makeup was not allowed in my primary and high school. Any of us caught wearing it was taken out of the classroom to wash our faces.

    Copying probably will never die in school. There will probably always be that one student who copies homework and somehow comes out on top in exams and you wonder how 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, a tried, tested, and true method of getting work done! Technology has just made it easier now.

      Some of the schools don’t allow for makeup, jewelry, all Thai students wear uniforms. But that’s what makes it so funny, they put on their makeup after school.

      Liked by 1 person

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