Day 2 – When the Difference Between “Chips” and “French Fries” is the Last Straw.

This post is a continuation of the previous two posts about a 3 day course I’m teaching to deaf middle-school children whom I barely know.

I made a lot of mistakes today.


True, there were those elements I couldn’t control. Some different students came today, students who hadn’t participated in the lead-in activities to our planned visit to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. There were distracting things going on outside the room’s windows and in the building. The tech I had hoped to use to show some pictures of Disneyworld didn’t work.

Nonetheless, two days in a row of learning based on imagination was too much. I couldn’t relate well enough to stories they told about amusement parks they had been to in Israel as I wasn’t familiar with the rides (though one boy had been to Disneyworld and one girl had been to Euro Disney) and the kids were not listening to each other – they only wanted to tell. I thought we could work on descriptors (such as scary, exciting, fun or whatever reaction they cane up with) as we imagined going on rides – I told them about the rides based on movies such as Toy Story, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc. because I was sure they had seen them. They are old movies now, only a few remembered seeing them. Most of the students said they would go on everything and that’s that (though some said they wouldn’t go to the haunted house).

Basically, there was too much new information about a world outside their daily life. They need it in small doses. The bit about asking for Chips in a U.S fast Food place and getting a bag of potato chips (not French Fries) was too much for some of them. Just lost them.

I should have known better.

5 thoughts on “Day 2 – When the Difference Between “Chips” and “French Fries” is the Last Straw.”

  1. But today is over now, so thequestion is, what are you goingto do tomorrow? Could they maybe make a posterabout a theme park or another interesting place. They’ve alrady been to? then the others could all choose one place they’d like to go to from the posters.

  2. Hey Naomi – sorry it’s been so long since I popped by. I love how open you are about your lessons. You share the good alongside the learning opportunities 🙂 You are such a courageous teacher I love how you go for things – even when you’re not quite sure how they’ll work out. You’re an inspiration to the rest of us 🙂

  3. Hi Naomi
    Just to back up Anna… I agree this blog post shows your courage to share the not-so-good classroom experiences along with the good. It demonstrates how you are reflecting on every teaching experience as a learning experience for yourself, and for us all in sharing – thank you! What shines through is that you care about every lesson and every student.

    I’m sure you’ll be thinking of where you can take this next to make it meaningful for the learners – Sandy has made some fabulous suggestions.

  4. And I shall third the comments above! DON’T be so hard on yourself!!! Remember the Waldorf Salad??? Whether you like mayonnaise, celery and/or walnuts – the message is there! What you may see as a failure and BIG mistakes, I am sure most of the kids didn’t even notice, so while YES – reflect upon them and learn from them – but focus on what you did right! Don’t be so hasty with your red pen. And that reminds me of a trick I learnt years ago, can’t remember whom to credit. As teachers our focus is more than necessary on MISTAKES. A page filled with red marks can be very discouraging. So, first – DON’T use a red pen to mark/correct students’ work (pink, purple, turquoise are really nice) and second, DON’T focus on the mistakes. Focus on what is right, what the students did well, perhaps something new they didn’t know last time – whatever. Point THAT out to them.
    Now, my dear courageous, creative, caring (OH how I love c words) teacher, go back to your Magic Kingdom and focus on everything you did right and was successful! Go for it, girl! HUGS
    (And, btw, as I write these words to you, three huge hot air balloons are flying across the sky outside my window. A bit of your magic 🙂 )

  5. I can’t tell you how moved I am by all of your support! It’s not just your so kind (and so-generous words) but the fact that I have someone to discuss these things with! My husband is a saint but he’s not a teacher and even my most dedicated colleagues at school would not appreciate a phone call over vacation dealing with the ups and downs of my lessons!
    Thank you Sandy, Anna, Lesley and Judy!
    So what did I do the last day?
    Luckily I had decided to go with a variaton on Sandy’s suggestion because the day was shortened. There were all kinds of special activities and an assembly and our lessons were shortened. We made holiday greetings (tomorrow is a holiday) in English for family members and teachers at the program. We decorated them with pics. Then they suddenly gave us computer time so they played some games in english.
    Now I’m on vacation!

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