Monday, May 14, 2012

The Truth about Teaching

After 45 minutes of agony with my 8th graders, I walk next door into Peter's classroom to return the English-Hungarian dictionary that I borrowed.

"Was everything okay?" he asks.

Usually I lie, or downplay, but today I don't even smile.  "No."

"I thought so."


It is my first day back to school after a week of sick leave.

Maybe this is why I have less patience than usual.

Or maybe, it was Norbi, who hoisted his chair, ready to throw it at Tamás.

It's a good thing I am paid to run intervention.

Some days, I teach.

Other days, I swear under my breath and fantasize about throwing them out the window.

I could lasso them, I think, bundle them all together.

But that would take the pleasure out of tossing them one by one...


My voice is hoarse, and not just from yelling at children.  I am recovering from a throat infection, from days of being so sick I didn't leave my bed.  After doctor visits in broken English and hungry hours (2 of them, while I was fasting for my labwork) of waiting to give my blood and urine, I was diagnosed with a UTI.

Have you ever had one?

Don't do it.

It feels like (and pardon the imagery, but there is really no other way to put this) a dagger shoved up there.

If you have to do it, keep a couple of things in mind.  Don't schedule it at the same time as your menstrual cycle.  And do yourself a favor -- get up early enough to take the bus to work.  Or walk.  Yeah, do that.  Whatever you do, don't ride your bike.

It feels like a lot of things, none of them good.


Earlier in the day, I saw Peter in the teacher's lounge.  "Have you given the students grades?" he asked me.

At most of my schools, I give the students monthly grades and this factors into their overall grades for English.  At this school, on my first day, Peter told me that I could give them grades if I wanted to, but that I didn't need to.  I didn't give them grades.  I have never given them grades.

Today, however, four weeks before school is out for the summer, I am asked to give them grades.

Can this be reason #3149 that my job is really hard?

That, and I was never given an official class roster for any of my classes.  Which means I don't know my student's full names.  Do you know how many Balazs' go to this school, only a couple of whom I teach?  Lots.  So how exactly am I supposed to give them grades?  Beats me, but apparently Peter is confident I'll figure it out.

Oh!  And can reason #3150 be that I teach a total of 198 (one-hundred and ninety-eight!!!!) students split between 4 (four!!!!) schools?



Quick!  I need summer!  And quite possibly shock therapy.


  1. I CAN RELATE! Oh my goodness, can I relate. I laughed out loud at the hoisted chair and the quandary over bundling them or tossing them one by one..... Hang in there, Jess. We can do it! :)

    1. :) Here's to surviving until summer comes...