Classroom Commentary Vol. I

These are the kinds of things that keep me alive as a teacher.

Violence in the classroom. When the teacher really makes a push for students to do well on quizzes, the students can get quite passionate. Today, when I was checking a quiz, I pointed out to the student that the directions said to write QUESTIONS, and he had written sentences. At this, he violently responded by grabbing for his quiz in a panic, and suddenly I found myself out of my chair, running around the classroom, trying to avoid his little hands that would not give up for anything. I even found myself on the floor at one point. The quiz had fallen, and I made a mad scurry to retrieve it. I finally decided to alert every student’s attention to this section and reminded them all to form QUESTIONS. That way it would be fair for me to return the quiz and let the poor student change his answers. This whole incident had the other students in fits of laughter, by the way. It was rather hilarious.

Keeping a record of sin. I’ve started writing a story for one of my classes. It’s not just any story. It’s a story that started as a means of DISCIPLINE. (My favorite part of the whole educational conundrum.) Basically, I jot down a record of any bad behavior I spot during class and then pass this story on to the Chinese teacher. It has the students all up on their toes, and I’ve never seen them behave better. Should have thought of this earlier. Didn’t realize how much SOMETHING NEGATIVE ABOUT THEM IN WRITING affected these little guys.

Learning new things from the fill in the blank vocabulary sections in student exam papers. “The horror movie was quite perfumeI jumped out of my seat more than once.” “Please try to ambitious stepping in the mud.” “My brother is so avoid, he hates waiting for other people.” “The horror movie was quite ambitious, I jumped out of my seat more than once.” (I hope you found humor there; I usually just find myself annoyed at my students’ mistakes.)

Experiencing the profundity of a student’s mind. The reason it’s another late night is because I’m grading the midterm exams my junior high students just took. The upside of pessimism is that you’re not disappointed, and my exceptions were pretty low when I started grading the writing portion of the exam. My students were required to write a movie review. One of my students reviewed the film Avatar. In her “personal opinion” paragraph, she writes this (edited portions in [brackets] to stay true to the spirit of the pen):

I love this movie [very] much. In some ways, it tells [us] that humans are very violent. We use any [way] to get what we want. Even though we hurt other plants or [animals], [we] don’t care about other [people’s] or thing’s [feelings]. It tells me to protect the world. We can choose [not to fight] and have a [peaceful] world, because fighting is the worst way to do anything.

Words like these have a way of seriously improving a teacher’s mood. Especially when you’ve already been marking things in red ink for a couple of hours.

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