Friday, November 18, 2005

My co-worker wrote this for the Socius site. I am the teacher Michael. Sad to say this really happened at our school and I thought that it needed to be shared.

Contributed by Stephanie Shimko

Sometimes our quest for answers brings about better questions

Recently I’ve been spending time with more intellectual types working on advanced degrees, so my conversations of late have been more philosophical than usual. For example, the question has been asked “what are we teaching?” I think the answer(s) to this question could be discussed and debated ad nauseum. I personally feel that a better question to ask is “what are they learning?” There are a variety of reasons for this.

For example, in my hogwon there are two foreign teachers: Michael, and myself. I am a rather serious teacher, of short stature with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a pale as the moonlight complexion. Michael is one of the physically biggest men I’ve ever met in my life, and he comes from a military background. Obviously the children react to us, and therefore learn from us, in very different ways, and I think the following story is a good example of this.

Harry is about ten years old and was in one of my beginner classes. He started in the back of the classroom. He was a little odd, but enthusiastic and nice. On my first day I introduced myself saying “hello, my name is Stephanie, I’m from America, etc…” and brought a book about my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Afterwards, I asked if any of them had any questions. Harry’s hand shot up in the air like he was about to catch a ball that would win his team the World Series. I asked him what he question was and he replied “I love you!” and stared at me with saucer shaped eyes. Over the following weeks, Harry’s seat gradually moved from the back of the room to front and center. One day we were working on learning professions and places like police station, bakery, supermarket, and so forth. I had been asking the question “Who works at the fire station.” The first answer from the class came:

“Police station!”

“No. Who works at the fire station?”


“No… Who works at the fire station?!?”


I decided to reconsider my approach. I stopped for a moment and put my hands on my hips as I pondered. I was standing in front of Harry. Harry raised his hand and pointed to his behind.

“Teacher! Butt?” he asked me.

“Um, yes, Harry.” I replied. “That’s your butt.”

“Teacher! Butt! Sexy.” He said.

I had no idea what to say to that. This boy is ten years old, and doesn’t know enough English to tell me that the fireman works at the fire station, but he can tell me that my butt is sexy. The next sentence came from another boy:

“Teacher face! Red.”

I have no doubt that my face was as red as the fire station I had just been talking about. It was at this point that I started thinking, we shouldn’t be asking questions like “what are we teaching” and “what are they learning.” We should be asking questions like “where did you learn that?” and most importantly, “would you say that to Michael teacher?”

When this happened I was laughing my butt off, It was just so funny. There was a time that she wore a low cut shirt and when she bent down to pick up something all of the boys eyes were locked on her brest, I yelled at them, but to be honest, When I was their age I did the exact same thing.
None of the boys think my butt is sexy, I am usualy told by the boys, Michael teacher, hansome.

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