Embarrassing Moments in the Classroom: The Birthday Card

Off the top of my head I really can’t recall very many instances of being embarrassed in the classroom. I’d say this has more to do with having mentally barred them from my memory than actual lack of their happening because, to use that phrase that got old first year of university and which I actually resent myself for using at the moment, I can be really awkward sometimes. And awkwardness+teenagers+different culture surely lends itself to embarrassment from time to time. So maybe this “embarrassing moments” idea can become a standard feature, because who doesn’t like a good laugh at someone else’s expense? Even if it doesn’t become a recurring theme, here was a very blush-worthy thing that happened to me yesterday.

So as a lead-in to the Christmas theme I’ve been instructed to do (which… strangely will be culminating… right around… Christmas… as opposed to in July sometime… which I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around) I had students review the months, then determine whose birthday was on what day in which month in order to establish groups for group work. This also afforded me the opportunity to jot down the students’ birthdays, because I had a grand scheme to make theme love me by virtue of the birthday cards I’d make when the appropriate days arrived.

And lo! I noticed there were quite a few birthdays coming up towards the end of the week. Yesterday morning, not wanting to miss my first opportunity to follow through with Operation Buy-Love-With-Cards I referenced my handy notebook and saw this:

Dear sweet Dune’s birthday was indeed the 17th of November! So I whipped out my Miffy watercolor pens the school has so kindly provided (a printer in the office would be nice, but for now I’ll take the pens and the kettle), and created, if I may say, a true masterpiece of a card. 12:10 rolled around and I strode (truly strode) into Room 531 where I was greeted by about three quarters of my Mattayom 2/1 class. Though I don’t know all the kids’ names yet, I did recognize the Lady of the Hour in her seat dead center of class and said, “Dune! Happy birthday!” And plopped the card on her desk.

She looked a bit embarrassed (“Bah! Asian modesty…” I thought to myself, quite racistly [I suppose I should probably clarify that’s a reference to the Flight of the Conchords classic, “Albi the Racist Dragon,” and that I’m not actually a racist.]), but said, “Thank you…” and sat there casting glances around the room from the corners of her eyes. “Um… are you having a good day?” I asked after a few awkward moments. “Teacher… my birthday… in September! 17 September!” Astonished, I re-consulted my notebook and found this:

Like, I’d intentionally written the dates in numerical order, so it wouldn’t have even made sense for the 17th to come before the 5th. Nevermind the fact it’s so very clearly in the September category. I guess I was just so eager not to drop the ball I completely ended up dropping the ball. And the icing on the cake is that the class was then kind enough to tell me that Meen’s birthday was the following day. When doing so, they all kind of motioned to the back right corner of the class, where I remembered Meen generally sitting but I swear I have a slight case of prosopagnosia (not only can I not remember faces, I can never remember the name of the disorder, and had to Google “can’t remember faces disorder” to retrieve it) and wasn’t able to actually identify her. But I looked in that direction and said, “Okay! Well tomorrow I make you a card, okay Meen?”

The class burst into laughter again and on cue the door opened and 5 or 6 more girls scurried into class. Everyone in the room pointed at one of the girls and said, “Teacher! Meen!” This time it wasn’t my disorder, but the fact that she was just actually not in the room that caused me to misidentify the girl. *sigh* So then I told them I was too stupid to teach and pretended to leave.

And on that note I have to go teach “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias to a class because I was rushed and needed a quick lesson that illustrated “If clause conditionals.” Teacher of the year award goes to…


About Angela

I'm not actually a sleeping monk (though if I had my druthers...).
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