By Kirsten Nour Namskau
I think the experience of being a teacher is the same all over the world.
The children behave approximately in the same way. An average day in grade 8 is as follows:
The bell rang and the children came tumbling into the class-room and bumped down at their seats . . . An incredible noise of shouting, flirting, scratching with the chairs, paper-balls and rubber-pieces goes through the air, for the first 5 minutes.
I stand at the board, waiting for the class to calm down, while I write on the board the date, the name of the weekday and the subject of the lesson (History). . . . When I can “hear my own thoughts” I call out to the class: “So . . . are we ready to start the lesson? Waleed, what subject do we have in this lesson?”
Waleed: “Sex. . . . Ohh, sorry . . . biology.”
Me: “No Waleed. We have History.”
I continue: “Can you open your book at page 58 guys. We have come to page 58 . . . 58 . . . page 58. Did you get that Ronny? . . . Page 58.”
I wait for 2 minutes to let the students come to the page.
“Rana” I says “Can you start to read, please.”
Rana stoops into her bag to get the book . . . after what felt like “forever” she comes up again: “Teacher, I think I have forgotten the book at home. I’m sorry, teacher . . . I really am.”
Me: “So, go and sit with Berta.”
Huge mess and noise as she draws her chair to Berta’s desk.
Rana: “What page?”
Oliver: “Dude ! “
Rana: “Yeah, I only asked, what page?”
Me: “ Christian, can you tell Rana what page we are on.”
Chistian: “ 50 . . . .no, just a minute. “ he’s bladdering in his book to find the page, then says: “No, not 50 . . . 53 . . . I think . . . just a minute.” Bladdering again: “No, 56 maybe . . . “
The class is laughing.
Christian: “Don’t laugh. I know I’m close . . .right teacher???”
Rana is rolling her eyes.
Me: “ Page 58. “ (I’m writing the page-number on the board.)
Waiting for Rana and Berta to open the book at the correct page, not agreeing in what page.
Rana: “What page did you say? “
I’m pointing at the board.
Rana: “Teacher are you angry at me?”
Me: “No Rana, but can we start now? “
Discovering Gert chewing on a gum, I turn to him: “ Gert, can you take out that gum please.”
Gert: “No prob.”
He takes the gum out . . . roll it between two fingers to a small ball and fasten it behind his ear. He looks at me with an innocent glance.
I turn to Rana . . . . waiting for her to start.
Rana: “Teacher, I’m sorry I had forgotten my book. It’s only one thing in the world that I want . . . and that is to make my teacher happy. To remember all my books, do the homework and class-work and make the most out of the lesson . . . . But just today . . . just today, I forgot my book.”
Me thinking:” yeah right. You forget all of it every day.”
Me saying loud: “OK Rana, that’s good . . . can we start now? Start to read from page 58 please.”
Finally . . . the last 35 minutes of the lesson appear as a lesson should be. . . .