My Most Embarrassing Moment
There was an air of anticipation and
awkward silence in the class as I walked in to give
my first lesson. 7 or 8 students were seated around an expensive wooden
table and I
walked to the front of the class and opened the course book to page one.
The private academy I was teaching in had its own material which
consisted of thick
teaching books containing a script that the teacher read from. The idea
was that the
teacher read something, modeled the language and pronunciation and then
students a question. The students answer the question and then repeat
Naturally, the books we used were divided into levels, the vocabulary,
questions got harder as the level got higher. This was quite an
for lower level students and beginners, but it was mind-numbingly boring
This particular day I stood in front of my class of pure beginners, I
smiled, opened the
beginner’s book to page one, held up my pencil for all to see, and began.
“This is a pencil”
“This is a pencil”
“What is it?”
“It’s a pencil.” Repeat, “It’s a pencil.”
All the students repeated the sentence with perfect pronunciation. Now
moment of truth. I turned to the most intelligent looking student on my
left and asked
him the same question I had asked all the class just a few seconds
“What is it?” – Nothing! Just a blank stare.
“What is it?” I smiled wider and spoke louder. Surely this guy can’t be
“What is it?” – a note of desperation crept into my voice.
We looked at each other for what seemed like hours until he finally said,
“Well, it looks pretty much like a pencil to me, so I suppose it must be
Don’t you think?”
My mouth dropped open as I realized what had happened.
“I’m sorry”, I stammered, “I’ve got the wrong book here. You’re clearly
students. I’ll be back in a minute with the correct book.
I closed the book and quickly left the class to bring the correct book.
My face was as a
red as a beetroot.
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