Friday, February 12, 2016

Things I Never Tell My Students

During my career as a teacher, I've taught everyone from adults (up to retirement age) to children as young as four years old. Here are some things I always think but never say:

1) I love the hugs I get. Coming from a country where hugging a kid who's not family can practically get you jailed, it warms my heart when the little ones come and hug me when I enter the class. Warms it more than the Cadiz sun.

2) Flattery gets you nowhere. Whether it's a kid drawing me too many pictures, or an adolescent saying I'm guapa, saying nice things doesn't put you at the top of my list. When I'm teaching, I don't give a f*** how I look. I only care if you're behaving in class and doing the homework.

3) Don't tell me you don't have time to study. I've had C1 adult students with families, full-time jobs, dogs, and a house to clean. They passed. I may nod my head in fake sympathy as you wax poetic about how there's no English in Jaén, but if those C1 students can sacrifice and pass an English test, so can you.

4) Don't call me expecting a miracle. I don't understand why students wait all year until two weeks before their exam to call me, begging me for private lessons. Two weeks is not enough time to get your sh*t together and pass if you haven't been studying the entire year. (That said, I have given these lessons, and 99% of my students pass. Just sayin'.)

5) I have cried in the teachers' washroom. There's, like, no privacy at school. Once or twice I've had to lock myself in a stall and have a cry, just to de-stress.

6) Sometimes that smile of mine is fake. A good teacher must walk in cheery, in order to animate the students. There have been mornings where I've actually paused outside of a classroom, pasted on a smile even though I wasn't in the mood, and marched in.

Of course, those adorable little hugs turn my fake smile into a real one.
It doesn't get more Spanish than cute kids, Cervantes, & fútbol.

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