Number one for English language teachers

Anecdote: A slippery start

Type: Anecdote

Early on in my teaching career I got a job in an international hotel and tourism college in Bangkok. Previous to this I had only taught in small private language schools. The new job seemed like a significant step up the ladder of academia. Little did I know what was in store. I was assigned to teach a composition course to final year students, who were only about a year or two younger than myself. Trying to teach writing to groups of fifty fun-loving Thai students was not an easy task. The students played lots of pranks on me. However one that stands out in my mind is the day I walked into the classroom to see a sea of attentive, engaged faces, no one reading a cartoon book or doing their make up! Perhaps they’ve turned over a new leaf I thought as they greeted me. I walked over to the table at the front of the class to see a long thin green snake on stretched across it. “Very funny” I said, “Who’s brought in a toy snake?” no answer. Well if no one is going to claim it, I thought, I’ll throw it over in the corner and I’m sure the practical joker will collect it at the end of the class. I picked up the snake and chucked it into the corner at the front of the room and turned to the class to start the lesson. At this point the students erupted in laughter, “Why are they so amused by this toy snake?” I thought. Then there was a scream from a girl in the front row and I turned round and saw the snake slithering towards me. I then screamed louder than the girl and ran out of the room. I didn’t go back in until the snake had been captured and taken somewhere else. God knows what tricks these students went on to play on the guests that stayed in the five star hotels that they went on to work in after graduating! Needless to say I soon tired of the hotel college, my illusions of the academic world shattered and decided to take a break from teaching.

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