Teachers’ Anecdotes

My first presentation at a conference

–Balkrishna Sharma

When the preparation for NELTA’s International Conference was going on, I for the first time in my life decided to make a presentation at the conference though I was not sure what I specifically was going to talk about. I now want to recall what thoughts went inside my head before the presentation day. I first thought that I should not have decided to present in front of so many people. And again thought that if I did not start at that time, when would I start presenting? Then came another crazy idea: it was better not to present than to give a bad presentation. Another half of my mind again suggested that I present. Again I thought what if I trembled in front of the people. Then I thought what would happen if no people came in my presentation room. Then another silly idea occurred: how would the presentaion go if the computer did not work or if my power point slides did not open. Then I thought people would laugh at me if I could not answer audience’s questions. I hardly slept that night. Surprisingly, I was able to present without any hesitation and fear the next day. The room was full of audience; the powerpoint slides worked well; and I was able to answer the audience’s questions. The implication of my story is that it is always challenging to ‘break the ice’, but once you get started, everything moves smoothly. Last month I presented at East-West Center Graduate Student International Conference, and at Hawaii TESOL, and on 26th of March I am presenting at TESOL Convention at Denver (USA). My first presentation at the NELTA conference was the foundation and encouragement for my present and future presentations. I reiterate: a journey of hundred miles starts from a step. Let’s try…. and reflect…



My first day as a secondary teacher

–Kate Miller

We had a couple of hours to get to know our new tutor group, and we spent some of this time going over their timetable, checking they had written everything down correctly and understood what was required of them. About three quarters of the way through, to my horror, I realised that I had turned over two pages and had given them completely incorrect information. What to do? The only thing was to confess and apologise!! – two hours into my teaching career. So much for my credibility. An 11 year old boy, with great sensitivity, said “Don’t worry Miss. The last teacher wasn’t even half human!” My lesson from this. If you get it wrong, apologise. —————————————————————————————————————————————

The 27th Letter of the English Alphabet

Teacher’s Anecdote (Nelta Choutari Jan 09)

It was the very first week of my teaching at Pinewood English School in Butwal, about 15 years ago. I had just given classwork to my Nursery class and was going around to see how individual students were doing. One little boy, named Ankit, called me: “Sir, here come na.” (he had been a ‘boarder’ for a year, so he already had an impressive range of pidgin English expressions to communicate with). ‘This what?’ he asked, showing me a strange drawing on his notebook that looked like the letter G with three arms added to the right side! I said, “I don’t know.” He looked in my eyes, smiled, and then said, “Tell na!” With me sitting there realizing the difficulty of the situation, Ankit repeated his question for a while, along with strong gestures and the sweet voice of a four year old, “Umm, tell na, sir”! I finally ventured an answer, “That’s nothing”.

Ankit looked at me, smiled very brightly and with a visible sense of gratitude, and said, “E, nothing”! Then he went on to draw the same shape once again, and showed me: “Look, sir, this nothing”!

To this day, I remember Ankit and the 27th alphabetical letter in English that he invented and forced me to name. That has been the most unforgettable moment of respect for the kind of creativity that kids like Ankit demonstrate, which I am often afraid I have inadvertently stifled for 15 years. ‘Am I banking or am I not?’ is a serious question.

–Ghanashyam Sharma

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