An EFL teacher discovering the whole new universe :)

April 05, 2006

As if grapple truck were more interesting than English :)

I can't believe I came across this post today! Today I really needed it. Bud the Teacher posted this poem:
Undivided attention
By Taylor Mali

A grand piano wrapped in quilted pads by movers,
tied up with canvas straps - like classical music's
birthday gift to the insane -
is gently nudged without its legs
out an eighth-floor window on 62nd street.

It dangles in April air from the neck of the movers' crane,
Chopin-shiny black lacquer squares
and dirty white crisscross patterns hanging like the second-to-last
note of a concerto played on the edge of the seat,
the edge of tears, the edge of eight stories up going over, and
I'm trying to teach math in the building across the street.

Who can teach when there are such lessons to be learned?
All the greatest common factors are delivered by
long-necked cranes and flatbed trucks
or come through everything, even air.
Like snow.

See, snow falls for the first time every year, and every year
my students rush to the window
as if snow were more interesting than math,
which, of course, it is.

So please.

Let me teach like a Steinway,
spinning slowly in April air,
so almost-falling, so hinderingly
dangling from the neck of the movers' crane.
So on the edge of losing everything.

Let me teach like the first snow, falling.

In the afternoon hours of today I was teaching 7-year-old children English. As it turned out, I was trying to teach. The problem? Suddenly they saw a small grapple truck that was clearing out broken tree branches from the wood. They all ran to the windows and got extremely excited about it. I gave them about five minutes to observe it, to comment on it, to admire it. Then I asked them to come back and continue listening to my story. They did eventually come back and sit down in our circle on the floor. But they didn't listen. They couldn't. They were enormously attracted by every single move of that machine out there and my well prepared story vanished into the thin air. Since nothing like that happened to me before (a first-year teacher, remember? :), I was completely lost and somehow disappointed. There was nothing I could do to be more interesting than that truck. No chance. I angrily finished the session a bit sooner and let them go. Go, watch that truck, you curious children! I thought by myself, feeling somehow personally offended, even sad.
How silly I was. Now I get it. Lesson learnt.
Thanks Bud, Chris, Taylor Mali.


Anonymous Eric S. Handler said...

Actually, I think grapple trucks are REALLY interesting. Then again, I suppose I ought to. I make them and I'm just a big kid myself.

The truck pictured with your post is a Petersen model TL3 owned by the Village of Ruidoso, NM.

Wait 'til your kids get to see a Rear Steer grapple truck. You'll never get 'em to sit down and study again.

Eric S. Handler
VP/General Manager
Petersen Industries
Lake Wales, FL

20/4/06 2:14 pm

Anonymous daniel said...

was it possible to turn that cool moment into a language learning moment?

i don't know what the abilities of your kids are but maybe they would have liked learning the action words they were watching or other related vocabulary.

maybe next time right?

9/5/06 9:22 am

Blogger anitanita said...

Yes, that is what I said to myself, next time :)

16/5/06 11:47 pm


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