Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Shut up and sit down

I was at a primary school this morning to administer an English proficiency test, something part of a long-term study we're conducting on English language proficiency. Thank god I don't have to teach in Primary school.

They (Primary Two kids) were a barely controllable mass of energy and restlessness. I now know why my Primary school teachers were such tyrants - they had to be. Within minutes, I felt the words "Shut up and sit down" waiting at the tip of my tongue. In the space of 1 hour, I began to use time-honoured and much-hated tag questions that I normally reserved for the worst of my students:

  • "Is there something interesting outside of that window?"
  • "How difficult can it be to sit down and keep quiet, hmmm?"
  • "Which part of 'Sit down and keep quiet' did you not understand?"
  • "What did I say? WHAT did I say? Hmmm? That's right: if you've completed your test, just sit down and wait"

Thankfully, one of the school's teachers dropped in from time to time to look in. Her methods were more direct:

  • "YOU!" glare
Spent the remainder of the morning clearing my email which has piled up in my absence. The secret, I've discovered, is to start from the more recent ones, after which you can delete anything which has been superceded by subsequent decision or action. It still took me till 1pm to do this, but after which I left the office to claim my half-day off.


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