Tag Archive: school


Proud Parent

Hi! In this post, I talk about the first time I felt like a proud parent as a TEFL teacher. Who knew I’d feel like this? Maybe my family knew because I cried during The Lion King, and for every sad film since that film they would look in my direction to inspect if my eyes welled up. That’s not to say that I cried or anything, not this time. But anyway, I digress. My kids had to recite English poems in front of a ‘large’ audience.

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Re-introduction

“Ok, so guess which one is the lie,” I excitedly told all of my soon-to-be new kids after I quickly introduced myself.

“My first fact is that I have danced in front of millions. My second fact is that I am in a Hollywood movie, which you will be able to see in cinemas in two years’ time. My third fact is that I have three sisters,” I said, as I stood in front of the class, three different times, for three different grades.

“The first one!” said one girl.

“No!! The second one!” said another.

Others chimed in, and it was amusing to hear their reasons for why they thought their selected ‘fact’ was a lie.

“She can’t be in a movie – come on!” shouted a boy.

“But she has not danced in front of so many people!”

Once I told them that the lie was in fact the third one, that I had three sisters, their mouths dropped and their eyes popped out of their heads.

“You Teacher Miss Monique???!!! What film are you in? Where have you danced in front of millions?” and their questions abounded along those lines. In particular, there was one kid from that day onwards, who persistently asked to see photos and videos of my performances during every. Single. Lesson.

This was the second time that I had to introduce myself to some school children within the space of about two weeks. But this was the first time that I said this to anyone at the school, mainly because my younger kids wouldn’t have really been able to understand the activity.

As mentioned in a previous post, I agreed to teach the 4th, 5th and 6th Grades because a teacher had gone AWOL. And although I was excited about the opportunity to teach older, and hopefully better behaved, kids, I was genuinely sad about abandoning ‘my babies’. I even took photos of their nametags and everything just before I left, like a reminiscent parent who was about to release their ‘child’ into the big, wide world. Or like a sad lonely person; whichever simile you prefer.

I had about an hour to introduce myself and to get to know the kids. I was free to just play games with them, so that’s what I did, and they loved it! I warned them that my classes wouldn’t always be like that. In fact, they would hardly ever be like that. They said that they understood, but I’m not sure if they took heed.

From the time that I introduced myself, I could tell that I would have a lot more fun with the older grades, mainly because I would be able to do more activities with them. And I also thought this, because they seemed “less wild” than the younger kids.

I did have fun with the younger kids though, and as I have already said in an earlier post, I bonded with them in such a short space of time. But because I only taught them for a short time, I thought they would’ve pretty much forgotten about me. But to my surprise, for a good long while at least, most of them, in particular the more ‘challenging’ kids in the class, would run up to me, to greet me with the biggest smile they could put on their face, or with a hug, or with the words, “I love you, Miss Monique”. And although that doesn’t happen so much now, every now and again, a couple of them still run up to hug me, just because.

The Book

the book

As I’ve already explained in a previous post, as a British citizen, it is weird for me to see a saluting the flag ceremony conducted in a school. So that in itself is something foreign for me to witness; to line up with my students and watch them go through the motions. Whenever it happens I still feel slightly out of place because I really don’t know what I am supposed to do.

So imagine the first time I saw this. Once they finished singing their various songs, the head of the school stepped up to the microphone and began to talk about God knows what. It was all in Spanish and I didn’t have a clue about what he was saying, apart from recognising the obvious “Good morning” at the start of his speech. So I zoned out a little, until I saw a book being thrown to the ground by a boy.

I quickly snapped out of my reverie. ‘What the….?’ I tried to ask myself as my mind attempted to process what was happening. The boy began to stamp on the book to his heart’s content; he was clearly very excited about being given the opportunity to do so.

Then the head of the school took the book and started to talk to the boy. I thought he was going to tell him off. Instead, the head teacher demonstrated what he wanted the boy to do with it. He began to tear it apart. He gave the book back to the boy, and then the boy finished the job, with pleasure. The head clearly received the attention that he wanted from everyone.

‘What the hell is going on?’ I thought to myself. I looked around, and I seemed to be the only one disturbed by what was unfolding right in front of me. I had never imagined that I would witness something like this; this was only something I read and heard about in my history classes, but to a lesser extent, of course.

My facial expression must have expressed the shock that I was feeling, because immediately afterwards the coordinator came up to me and proceeded to explain what had just happened.

“It was just a book we found in the library that shouldn’t have been there. We were telling the students that not all books are good. Just because it is a book, it doesn’t mean that you have to read it,” she said, or something to that effect.

“What was the book about and who was the author?” I asked.

She told me that “some crazy person” wrote it, and that it was some sort of communist or socialist book…

Hey guys!! So this blog post comes in the form of a vlog, where I’ll be talking about patriotism in Mexican schools. Enjoy! 🙂