Things students say and do
A selection of your classroom anecdotes involving the funny things that students say and do.
We were having a repetition class a few days before a test. I had prepared a worksheet with a set of tasks similar to those planned for the test. One of them was drawing conclusions about the past using modals (can't have, must have and so on). Among others, I prepared a cue "He was rich and handsome, but she didn't want to marry him". I was expecting something like "She must have been in love with another man" or "She can't have loved him". What I got instead, and quite promptly, from ...
I was teaching a proficiency class a few years ago in London. They were a marvellous group apart from one thing: almost all of them said, "What means...?" instead of "What does ...mean?" I felt I had to do something but nothing seemed to work.
I teach in an English School in Hanwell, West London and took a group of TEFL students to Oxford a couple of weeks ago.
This anecdote from Jane Richards highlights the confusions that can arise with modern slang, innit.
A group of kindergartners were trying very hard to become accustomed to the first grade. The biggest hurdle they faced was that the teacher insisted on NO baby talk!
I teach at an Intensive English Program at a university. Every fall we have a heritage festival. The festival is held in mid-November and includes a craft bazaar. I was walking through the bazaar one afternoon with two young men from the Middle East.We stopped where 4 ladies were playing the hammered dulcimer, a stringed instrument indigenous to the Appalachian Mountains. One of my students was amazed at the sound and started asking me about the ...
I am a fifth grade teacher from Nevada, U.S.A. I teach at a year round school. The school has 12 lifeskills. We focus on a lifeskill each week and teach character lessons relating to that lifeskill. Each marking period, each teacher hands out certificates to two students who have exemplified a lifeskill during that marking period. Last year, I gave one of my students, I'll call him "J", a certificate for the lifeskill of curiosity. Let me tell you why.
Anton Balažovic reminds us of the Hollywood adage, 'Never work with children or animals'!
I was teaching my elementary class of handsome young Italian men recently when I wrote a few ‘truths’ about myself on the board to introduce ‘can’ and ‘can't’. As an overweight older woman I do like to put some unusual but true things about me to surprise them, even give them a giggle. I wrote several things including "I can tap dance".
This month's winning anecdote comes from Roxana Fermani.
Recently, I was teaching the Present Simple. We were doing some exercises and when there is something ‘special’ I sometimes ask my pupils to spell the word (or the form of the verb) for me.
Mike Julian struggles to keep a straight face with a student whose general knowledge is lacking …
To teach a young man, about 30 years old, to use the past simple tense, I gave him a scenario to use. "Your friend came to visit from New York. You took him on a tour of your city. Tell us what happened."
Liliana Mihalachi from Romania shares her anecdote about the misunderstandings that can arise when students don't pay attention.
Chris Ellison shares this winning anecdote about a cheeky student.
I was recently teaching a class of adult students on the joint theme of Family and Feelings (English Upgrade Chapter 2). I was asking the students questions such as "how is Anna's uncle feeling?" etc. I then asked one student "how is Anna's cousin feeling?" The student replied, "sad."I then asked "why is she feeling sad?" and the student replied, "because she's feeling Grandma.” I needed a few moments to compose myself before continuing that line of enquiry!
I have been teaching English for many years in Los Angeles, a small city in the south of Chile. I have taught adults, teenagers and young children. The story I am recalling now took place in a small basic school of very deprived children where I worked in my first year as a teacher. This class was formed by children of eight or nine years old and they had one head teacher who taught them most of the subjects, except English - I was their English teacher - and Catholic Religion, which ...
Cecilia Vian shares a story about a very sweet misunderstanding.
I was giving a lesson on the theme of 'sleep' to a class of French university technology students. They had to ask each other questions and compete a questionnaire. One of the questions was, "What's the longest time you've ever slept uninterruptedly?"
Tara Kenway shares her winning anecdote about an animal-themed mix-up.
Brynn Hanson-Nogues shares her winning anecdote about a cheeky student in France.
I was teaching an elementary group. I asked them to make up an optimistic sentence. I wasn't expecting much, something like the sun's shining would have done it, but one of my students came up with "LIFE IS NOT DEAD" all of a sudden. I wonder what he would have said if I'd asked them to say something rather pessimistic ...
This is a blooper one of my Catalan students made years ago and I still smile whenever I’m reminded of it.
During my first months as a teacher my VHS advised me to contact any students who had stopped attending class without saying why. I dutifully phoned one of my male students only to get his wife on the phone. She was extremely surprised when I gave the reason for my call. She wanted to know how many weeks her husband had missed class. I covered up for him ( and for me) very quickly and said only twice. Obviously he had been using his English evenings for completely different reasons. ...
Whilst teaching English to a small group of foreign businessmen of different nationalities, we began a role play based upon the report we had just seen. The subject concerned smoking - cancer and the resulting lawsuits initiated by those afflicted. Casting the German student in the role of cancer victim and his Dutch classmate as a rich tobacco executive, I sat back to watch the action unfold.
Warren Bunn shares this month's winning anecdote about encountering students on the street in South Korea.