Tag Archives: students

Taking It to the Street

As I came into one of my classes today, the students all gathered around me, waving red pamphlets and telling me we have to go outside! I didn’t know what was going on until I realized there was a demonstration going on, right outside the building, visible from the classroom window. My students tried to convince me that they were really interested in that demonstration and wanted to go there, which I doubted since they obviously preferred this to a lesson. Eventually we went outside to see what it was all about.

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Student Looks at Teacher

Here she comes. Damn, I hoped she was late today. Why can’t she be late? It’s not like we can’t wait a bit longer to start the lesson. It’s not like anyone cares. Including her. That’s why she is so late so often, right? She probably has better things to do than teaching us. And we certainly have better things to do as well. Oh, look at her, she didn’t prepare anything again and just checks the textbook to see what she can do today. She didn’t prepare at all! And she never does. Why should we care about any of this shit if she obviously doesn’t? Such a waste of time. And I can’t look at my phone because she’ll confiscate it right away because she has the power. It’s so stupid.

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Learning, Not Studying

For a long time I always talked about “learning” for exams until a native speaker pointed out to me that it should be “studying.” Apart from being an embarrassing mistake to make for an English teacher, it brings me to a relevant point about when I use those words. I use them before exams and I have learned over the years that one of the most astonishing things you can say to students is “You don’t need to study.”

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Why Being a Teacher Sucks (Sometimes)

My holidays are almost over and once school starts, I will probably return to more thought pieces on school and general things. But to get ready for school and after Detachment, I thought I could spend two posts on reflecting what exactly I like and don’t like about being a teacher. And as I dutifully learned in school, I start with the bad things now and continue with the good things on Sunday. I heard this will strengthen my conclusion. So, in no particular order and without an end in sight as I write this now, some of the reasons what’s bad about being a teacher (and if you haven’t seen, I explained why I’m a teacher already).

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Detachment (2011)


(spoilers ahead)

Detachment is a movie about school, so it’s made out for me, obviously. It made me very angry. The movie is directed by (yeah, yeah, “the infamous”) Tony Kaye and I would put most of the blame for the failure of the movie on him, especially since he is his own cinematographer. I’m not sure if the script could have been filmed better (as Bryan Cranston claims, who has the most unnecessary role in the movie, so the feelings might be mutual), but the direction seems totally misguided. But even apart from that, the movie is full of clichés and school tropes, thereby neglecting its own purpose of trying to show what school is like. The great actors are mostly wasted. Yes, Adrien Brody is great, they’re all great, but why have some big names in the credits only to make them say one or two lines? The editing is sometimes off (look at the first principal scene) and the camera work is pretentious. But the biggest problem I have with the movie is the message it sends and the contradictions it gets caught up in. A movie doesn’t make me angry often, so I want to dive into why in more detail.

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Our Life Is a Movie: Dead Poets Society (1989)

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     dead_poets_society posterJoining the Robin Williams honorary bandwagon? I’m happy to! Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite and most influential movies, so it seems obvious to look back at it now in the late aftermath of Williams’ death. The movie works for me on many levels, mainly in its depiction of a good and unusual teacher, but also by showing an authoritative, limiting and cruel society and the effects it has on its young people. This way the film inspired me in many ways, not just for becoming a teacher. I must have seen it the first time early, when I was around 11 or 12 and I watched it again and again. What’s really a shame is that in schools, the novelization is often read when there is no reason on earth not just to use the movie. Curiously, this is one of the few movies where I really disagreed with Roger Ebert (who got me into movies so much more than I already was, so I’m a big fan of his), who called it “manipulative” and full of “platitudes.” Reading his review makes you wonder how he even came up with two stars. I get what he says and maybe even understand how you could view the movie this way, but to me, it’s just a great inspirational movie. Here’s why.

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