Saturday, 8 August 2009

My Presentation

My students thought, that me, as a teacher, should be giving a presentation at the end of the course just as they were going to. Being a democratic teacher, I agreed.

'OK, then. My presentation is after the break so don't be late,' I said.

During the break I prepared the presentation.

'OK, everyone. Before I start my presentation, I want you to promise do what I'll ask you to do.' I said.
'We need to know first,' one student said.
'No, you don't. You simply need to trust me,' I replied. 'I promise I won't ask you to sing or dance. Is that OK?'
They looked at each other waiting for someone to say OK. No one did.
'OK, unanimous agreement,' I said.
They all laughed and started to get exited.

'I'm going to hand you a piece of paper. You need to work with your partner to complete it. You have seven adjectives and you need to mark your choice on a scale from 1 to 10, like we did with that activity yesterday. You have to talk t your friend until you agree on the exact point on the scale. I'm not going to take those sheets or ask you what your ratings were. Ready?'

Worksheet:
I think my teacher is:

1) smart
0 _____________________________ 10

2) fashionable
0 _____________________________ 10

3) arrogant
0 _____________________________ 10

4) funny
0 _____________________________ 10

5) ambitious
0 _____________________________ 10

6) irritable
0 _____________________________ 10

7) patient
0 _____________________________ 10

They started to work together and glance at me every now and then. I didn't hear what they were saying at all.

'Alright everyone. Are you done?' I asked.

Nods, smiles, and nervous yes's.

'How would you feel if you were in my place out here while 16 people are contemplating what they thought about you?'

Horrible, bad, awful, terrible, nervous, and uncomfortable were some of the adjectives they said.

'That's how people feel when they are being judged. PLZ, don't judge people. It's a waste of your time and theirs. It makes them feel bad for no reason.'

Silence.

'Do you think I care about what you thought of me? I do care, but not to the extent that would make me feel nervous while you're rating me. Don't EVER let what people think of you get to you. Appreciate other's advice and only take that coming from people you know for sure care for you. Now we're going to watch a short video and I'd like you take notes as usual.'

Some eyes smiled and some eyes looked confused. That's when I realized it must have been a strong dose. I didn't mean it to be like that. I always saw in them a lot of potential, hopes and dreams most of which will be killed by society's attempts to make all 16 students act and behave in the same way, 'the' only way accepted here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you read the papers in the end? I suppose not. I would be curious. But what a lesson! They will never forget it, it's so important especially in Egypt. You are one of those teachers the students never forget. There's always a handful of those we remember later on, the unconventional one, who went beyond just teaching his subject.

The way you must have thought about it, during that break "What last lesson can I teach them that's really important, before we part?"... How dedicated of you. I know you must already miss them and fear for their hopes.

Don't worry too much. Out of all 16, I'm sure at least some will not erase their personality and the support you gave them will prove so important.

kholkhal said...

No, I didn't read any of their sheets. I promised I wouldn't.
Actually that was what I thought. I felt I needed to get them to think about their surroundings and not to take themselves for granted.

I'm sure some of them are strong enough to keep the personality they've built.