„What’s with those teachers?!“ (Folge 18)

I’ve had this idea some time ago – to write individual essays about specific types of teachers. And of course I should start with the most amusing kind of them: No, I’m not talking about music teachers, not religious education teachers (though some of them have a refreshing sarcastic sense of humour), not even art teachers (maybe next time). This article refers to… ENGLISH teachers!

Honestly, I really appreciate what you do – I’m a language teacher myself – so I hope you’re regarding the following lines with some favour. I promise sooner or later everyone is going to get their just deserts.

So what might be so funny about English teachers?

First of all, English teachers seem to be in a constant good temper (at least those I had the luck to meet as a pupil). Maybe it’s got something to do with all that singing. Do you remember? „Head, shoulders, knees and toes“, „Oh what a wonderful morning“, „Streets of London“, „He’s got the whole world in His hand“, „Waltzing Matilda“, you name it.

I never heard of a science teacher chanting down the periodic table or a maths teacher rhapsodising Pythagoras‘ theorem…no wait, I guess I did. But as far as I remember, the English lessons were always full of singing and chanting. And the teacher’s always just smiling, thumbs up, everybody’s happy, isn’t it a beautiful day to write a vocabulary test? Write down numbers one to ten – and again we have a BONUS! Someone speaking these words that cheerfully must either be a great cynic or American. In my case, both of it.

What else made me write this column?

Well, as an attentive person, I’ve noticed English teachers often suffer from language mash-up. Some of them talk in a crude German idiom contaminated with anglicisms („Wir beide waren equally erstaunt“, „Kannst du mich mal infillen?“, „X hat auch Freunde mit Y gemacht“), while others are completely captured by their second native language and only talk to each other in English (to other English teachers, of course). Some even seem to feel superior to all others and like to watch movies only in original English („You get the jokes much better!“), even if that means they’d have to go to a faraway cinema on Monday evening. And just like all teachers, English teachers have no clue why it could be so hard for their students to learn their subject, this easiest of all languages.

I’d better stop slagging now and pledge to do better. After all, I couldn’t have written this column without my great English teachers! And isn’t the English language our gate to the outside world? Some time ago I witnessed a bakery saleswoman at the train station in Leer who wasn’t even able to understand a traveller’s wish for a coffee, uttered in English language. Poor Deutschland, I thought.

So please put your hands together for the greatest of all teachers, put your thumbs up and sing a cheerful song!

In return for this article I shall make fun of Latin teachers next time – in Latin language! Ha! Because Latin teachers are the real superior people, I can tell you!