Tibetan Treefrog Publishing

5 Lessons I Learned in my 1st Year of Teaching

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News and Events

By David Ralph


Kids are watching your every move, so watch what you say and do and when you say and do it.



Mr. R.:   (to himself) Welcome to Mr. Roll’s room.  (country accent) Welcome Y’all.  (as a vampire) Velcome to the dark side.  Hey kiddos, welcome to Mr. Roll’s boom-boom room….. Hello! Sit down! Shut up! And Listen!  (pause)   Deep breath… breathe.  They’re kids; it’s not like they can hurt me.  I’m bigger than them…I’m smarter…. And gosh darn it, people like… (interrupted)


Student#1: Mr. Rolls?  I just thought you would like to know that we can hear you.


Mr. R:  Oh, I guess I forgot to shut my office door.


Student #2:  I would go with the boom-boom intro.




Lesson #2

Never act like you know when you don’t because sure enough there will be one student to call you on it.



Student #3:  Mr. Rolls, how does the feudal system work?


Mr. R:  (pause)  Look it up in the dictionary.


Student #3:  That’s what every teacher says.  (pause)  Don’t you know?


Mr. R:  Of course I know.  Why do you want to know?


Student #3:  Mr. Neal was going on about it today in history, but as usual none of it made any sense.


Mr.R:   Well, maybe you should ask Mr. Neal to clarify.


Student #3:  Yeah, right.  Mr. Neal doesn’t like anyone to ask questions, besides I don’t think he was paying attention when that part of the video was playing.  He had solitaire up on his computer.


Mr. R:  Oh. (pause)  I know a lot, not everything, but more than most.


Student #3:  Well then?  I have to incorporate it into my next paper.


Mr. R:  The feudal system began thousands of years ago in Europe.  This system was fought over for many years thus it was dubbed feud-al system.  You know like the family feud.  The Hatfield and McCoy feud, MTV’s top-10 celebrity feuds; derived from the Latin word fee-ood which translates to….


Student #3:  OK Mr. R.  I get the idea.


Mr. R.: Anyways,  After everyone was used to it they all lived in harmony with each other….(pause)…Amen.


Student #3:  Ummm


Student #4:  Actually Mr. R. that’s a bunch of bull fecal matter.  It’s actually a class system with nobles at the top and bonded servants at the bottom.  After the Black Death, the plague, killed about a third of Europe it left a shortage of servants.  The working class gained power and eventually the entire system fell.


Mr. R.  Uhhhhh..


Student #4:  Mr. R. if you don’t know you can admit it.  We won’t hold it against you.


Mr. R:  (abrupt) Let’s get back to silent reading!


Lesson #3

A teacher really does have the power to make or break a student, even when they aren’t aware they’re doing either one.


Student #4:  Mr. R.?  Can I talk with you?


Mr. R:  What’s up….


Student #4:  Mike


Mr. R:  Right, Mike.  What’s up Mike?


Student #4:  Why don’t you like me?


Mr. R:  I like all my students.  Why do you feel like I don’t like you?


Student #4:  You hardly ever call on me when my hand is raised and when you do call on me you put my ideas down or make fun of my responses.


Mr. R:  That’s a stupid thing to say….(realizing what he just said)…I mean….When did I do that?


Student #4:      

Like when I said I thought I should join the Army.  That I thought Bush was right in invading Iraq and you said the Army was just for kids who couldn’t make it in college.


Mr. R:  I don’t think I’m being like that.


Student #4:  Or that one time when I hurt my back and you made fun of me because you heard a story on the radio about a guy who threw his back out on the toilet.  You told the whole class that I threw my back out while taking a crap.  I’ll never forget that day.  You made ME feel like crap. 


Mr. R:  (angry)  That’s a lie!  I didn’t do that!  I was just telling you about the story.  I never said it had anything to do with you.  I was trying to be funny.  You do know what humor is; right?!


Student #4:  You’re the worst teacher I’ve ever had.  You’ve made me not want to come to school anymore.  You make me feel stupid.  Maybe you’re right,  “the army is for those who can’t make it in college”, but that’s what I want to do.  I thought about going to college but after your class, I guess I was wrong to think that way.  You broke me!  You win!  You’re smart and I am dumb!


Mr. R:  (at a loss for words) You’re not….wait…don’t leave like this…you have real potential….I’m sorry…


Student #4:  It’s too late.  I enlisted yesterday.  I leave for boot camp the day after school is out.  I just thought you’d like to know why.  Here’s your book back.  I have enough credits without your stupid class; just give me an “F” for the failure you think I am.  I’m out of here!!

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