Notes from the classroom

I think this teaching thing should be a required profession for everyone to experience at some point in life. (Just like people should take classes on how to be parents before they actually are.) The classroom dynamic couldn’t be closer to real life in terms of a mini model for managing people, time, disturbances, emotions, thoughts. It’s a class in communication, human relations, patience.

Take Monday for example. My once fluid and cohesive group of six adult business English students has unfortunately dwindled down to an unpredictable number which varies on a class by class basis, meanwhile 4 new students have integrated, well, ‘entered’ would be more appropriate, into the class since April. (The class began in October). I found myself running through introductions on four different occasions during April, as the ‘old’ students randomly appeared on a class by class basis and began meeting the new ones. And then you have the Portuguese notion of a start time. Usually they show up on time but it’s not uncommon for people to come in late – late means 20 minutes into the lesson. So the group morphs every lesson into a different shape and dynamic. We started with three and wound up with eight. There are the shy speakers, the dominators, the perfectionists, the questioners. The lesson plan goes to hell when all of a sudden you’d planned for six and you get two. When a seemingly boring topic in fact provokes stimulating conversation and takes over the rest of the session. When the precisely crafted exercise falls flat on its head and they all stare silently at you.

I just keep smiling. Surrender.

Then it’s over. And I wait for my bus. The clouds finally released the rain that had threatened all day with its impending arrival. I had lugged my umbrella around with me since 9 am as if it were my third arm…you never know when you’ll need it. I finally did at 10 pm.

Despite the weather I craved a beer. Walking up my street, careful not to slip on the slick, damp stones, I paid a visit to Senhor Antonio, the sweet owner of a ‘tasca’ (I consider them the equivalent of a dive bar minus the ‘bar only’ atmosphere with the addition of food.) Basically your neighborhood staple restaurant- no frills, menu taped on the front window, and cheap. Senhor Antonio is one of a very few who gifts me a smile on an almost daily basis as I pass his restaurant in route to the bus stop. He is rumored to be a cousin of Anthony Hopkins. I’ve never asked him but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Duas cervejas, se faz favor. Para levar (to go).

 One’s for me, and the other-my muse.


~ by maureenmoore on May 13, 2009.

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