Last weekend my colleague Ruth shared a poem by her friend, Jenna Edmondson. It made me laugh and I think a lot of teachers can empathise with it right now. Jenna kindly agreed to share it with the wider world on my blog. Thanks Jenna!
TEFL (Online) Tantrums
Just a second, I’m logging on
Teacher can you hear me?
Oh no, what’s wrong?!
I didn’t realise I was doing a hearing test today
Teacher can you see me?!
Yes I can, go away
I’ve 2020 vision of how this will pan out
Now please be quiet, no need to shout
Wait a moment are we all here?
Maria was signed in, now she’s just disappeared
Pablo please, can you unmute your mic
I can tell you’re not listening, you’re playing fortnite
OK class, cameras on please
I want to check you’re not watching TV
Great, now Maria’s back let’s begin
Teacher I can’t see you
(Honestly it’s fine)
Have you tried logging out and back in?
Let’s not waste any more time.
Can we check the homework? Page 52
I haven’t done it teacher, I didn’t know what to do
Well, the instructions were there in the chat and classroom
I had too much work
Ok class, just give me a rest,
Teacher Maria’s in the list twice
Great, I don’t know why
Maria is that your evil twin
Perhaps one of you
could speak or type?
I don’t mind which
ignore the glitch
Just please join in
Teacher Can I go to the toilet?
Yes…you are at home
You can do what you like
Just don’t take your phone
What’s that sound
Quick run for cover
Oh you’re just eating your mic
Or were you fighting your brother?
Maria, Question 1; oh, where has she gone?
Can you please tell me the answer, anyone?
Teacher you’re muted
We can’t hear what you said
OK, I type, let’s do some speaking instead
Can I work with him
Can she work with me
Teacher Sara can’t talk
OK you can work in 3s
5 minutes, great off you go
Pablo click on the link
Leave me alone
Give me time to drink a tea
Give me strength
For my headache to leave
I join the room
SPEAK ENGLISH please
And what is this you’re drawing
All over slide 3?
Answer the questions,
That’s all you’ve to do
Or there’ll be no more games or breakout rooms.
Is that my name now?
Right let’s try
I’ve got no data
The wifi’s gone
What’s the code
My battery’s run out
(Turn down the kahoot theme tune
This is torture, can we end this soon?)
Teacher I’m bored
Thanks, me too
I’m trying my hardest
What about you?
Time for a video
Let me share the screen
no, mute your mics,
just listen to me
now there’s an echo
I can hear myself speak
God I sound awful
I can’t hear myself think
Let’s stop this now
It’s time to say goodbye
Oh Maria, you’re back!
With your parents… hi!
No I can’t go through her progress with you right now
If she was here the whole class we’d have something to talk about
Teacher it’s the time
WAIT I haven’t given you the homework yet
Now half the class has gone
and we’re back to square one
I’ll mute myself before I say something I regret
The Teacher Show has come to an end
I’m slowly going round the bend
I’ve planned for hours and taught for less
Please believe me, I’m doing my best
I can see my flaws on the screen for six hours straight
I’m not a vain person but this angle’s not great
I struggle through when the tech is down
And try to ignore family in the background
The reality is that the time goes quite fast
I think most students enjoy this virtual class
As I do too, now and then
But I can’t wait to be in the classroom again!
With each day we’re closer to the end of term
And I hope there’s a lot you’ve learned
Hopefully patience; to be kind to others and yourself
To know you’re resilient and to appreciate good health
That the book doesn’t have the answers
Maybe your parents or teachers don’t too
If you want to learn something it has to come from you
Go from these few months knowing you can cope
And see you back in the classroom soon, I hope.
My name is Jenna Edmondson and I’ve been teaching English for 13 years. I’ve worked in Hong Kong, Sydney and now Spain. In my free time I love writing poetry (and occasionally performing it) painting and making silver jewellery. I really enjoy teaching and the connections we make with people, and putting these small observations into words. I studied English Language with Linguistics at the Uni of Sheffield and have always been interested in word play and sharing a love of the language with other people. I currently teach at ELI (English Language Institute) in Seville.