O is for Oops, Of Course I Meant Ostrich!


Part of a teacher’s survival kit is to remember certain rules, one of which is never turn your back to the class. It is wise for a teacher to learn the art of writing on the board from a side-ways angle. We were all kids at some point and know very well the reason why this rule makes sense.

One particular slip up in my early years of teaching still remains with me today. I made the mistake of trusting my Year 11 class and waivered the ‘no turning your back’ rule. Uh-oh! Not a wise move with thirty 16 year old smart alecks. I should also point out that the kids are also very aware of this rule.

So the pranks began and I knew I had to react quickly or the lesson would spiral into the depths of a place I did not wish to visit. I had a lesson to teach. I took a deep breath in preparation and projected my voice.
 
“I wouldn’t do that, if I were you, Jack (made up name).” I continued to write on the board.

“How did you know, Miss. You’ve got your back to us,” said Jack.

Silence in the classroom. I felt good. I’d covered my mistake. But then, I opened my mouth again…

“Did you think, just because my back is turned, I have the traits of a flamingo?” I turned and gave Jack the glare.

He raised his eyebrows and smiled. My glower intensified; more out of disappointment in his uncharacteristic insolence.

He spoke. “Don’t you mean ostrich, Miss?” He paused, waiting for the penny to drop. “You know, Miss, it’s the ostrich that buries its head in the sand. Flamingos are just… pink.”

Well, I couldn’t hold my composure any longer. The laughter erupted, first from me and then the class. The lesson didn’t progress as planned.

Three years later, I went to the local pub with a few friends.

“Hey, Miss!”

I looked over. I recognised the voice. It was Jack. He introduced me to his friends as the coolest teacher he’d had in school and bought me a drink. Bless. He still remembered the ‘flamingo-ostrich’ event.

This event must find its way into one of my stories at some point.

Have you even gone a step too far and made a fool of yourself?  

Comments

  1. My cool teacher moment came during our study of "Julius Caesar." A couple of boys greeted me one day, "Hail Mathias. Hail Mathias." I responded, "And the hail with all of you!"
    Visiting from AtoZ
    Wendy
    Jollett Etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) It is such a rewarding job, isn't it? If only for those precious moments :)

      Delete
  2. If that rates as an embarrassment, you've lead a platinum life.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't possibly share the most embarrassing :)

      Delete
  3. Everyone had a good laugh and you got a free drink - bonus!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think I've embarrassed myself more times than I care to remember. I think the trick is to keep on smiling and never let them know it's gotten to you!

    Fran
    @FranClarkAuthor
    Writing Women’s Fiction

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes I have. And, like you, it was in front of a classroom full of smart alecks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh dear! I don't think something like that happened to me before, but then my job doesn't require me teaching sixteen-year-olds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The little ones are more forgiving :)

      Delete
  7. At his is a funny story and they loved you for it because you laughed with them. I think I have foot in mouth disease on a daily basis.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think he loved you so much because you could laugh at yourself. That's a rare gift.
    Melanie Schulz from
    Melanie Schulz.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Such a wonderful anecdote. My mom is a teacher in a primary school and she has mastered the art of sideways writing because if she turns her back completely, pranks erupt left, right and center.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I was a high school teacher for a few years. Yes, your back is never what you want to show your students! And we have all been foolish. The best remedy as you found is laughter. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. That age group has to be tough! They're too old to be scared into behaving. You have to be able to turn your back sometimes, though. How else do you write on the board? Or is it all done through projectors and presentations now?

    ReplyDelete
  12. My wife has such good "teacher eyes" that even adults writhe in agony if she uses them. I'll have to ask her about the turning your back rule.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ha, how funny. Hopefully your memorable to him for more than that! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I made the mistake of turning my back on tenth graders. I didn't know them, and they barely knew me. A mere thirty seconds of my back to the class as I wrote on the board, and several students were expelled for assaulting the teacher. A horrible day.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have so many tales of interacting with students that still make me smile. And they remember better than me. My husband and I can't go to any local drinking establishment without having former students buy us drinks all night long. I love teaching teenagers.

    Susan Says

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a memory! How heartwarming your student remembered you so fondly!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Good tip, as I go into schools to talk to children... I shall remember that! ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've probably embarrassed myself more times than I can count!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've had moments like these, absolutely. I make light of the situation by laughing, too.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sounds like you got a great story out of that flub! =)

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yup, the kids would have been highly amused by that.

    ReplyDelete
  22. That is so nice that he remembered that event. He got a big laugh out of it and you kept your composure by laughing along with them. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You walked into that one. Kids never forget. LOL
    Writer In Transit

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Hello! So pleased you've popped by. I love to read your comments, so do leave one - even if it's just to say 'hi'!