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  • Writer's pictureWojciech Salski

Teacher's Condition

There is no understanding of other’s point of view, until one puts themselves in the shoes of the other, pondered the boy while chewing the friend’s made dish.


Could you read it for me, he asked feeling the impatience trembling within, Richard, could you please put your toy away and read the story for me…? His student didn’t move. Like a whisper overwhelmed by the street’s hustle and bustle, the boy’s wish was not taken to heart. Recognising the tension, which has already accumulated within his body, since his Monday morning teaching began, he looked outside the window counting the leftover time, until the lessons were over and done with. One and a half to go, he encouraged himself silently. The kid was playing with his toy without a stop. Thumping the desk with the feet of a Lego figure, he muttered something to himself in the language of his parents, in Chinese. The boy felt discouraged. It was already the second lesson today, during which trying to keep the student’s attention on the taught material seemed like a lost battle. He felt his brows frowning and his chest sinking deeper, as the motivation to continue was slowly but surely diminishing. Could you read the text for me, Richard, he tried one more time.


The kid glanced at the screen and for a moment left the figure on the side. The sun and the wind were arguing about their abilities, read the student, the wind claimed to be stronger than the sun, but the sun didn’t agree… Richard continued reading, as the boy listened in and from time-to-time corrected pronunciation mistakes. Great, he encouraged his student, so now tell me, what did the sun do to prove its strength? His seven-year-old pupil looked at the screen one more time, muttered an answer, which couldn’t be heard, and got back to playing with his toy. Richard, the boy tried not to erupt with frustrative lava again, please leave the toy, and let’s continue with the lesson…


During those moments of being ignored and helpless, teaching appeared rather daunting. Although with many of his students he felt satisfied and motivated, seeing their progress happening in his presence, teaching a few of his pupils resembled torture designed to break even the strongest spirit. With their parents rarely acknowledging his feedback and those students rarely participating in the class as they should, he tried to find a reason not to cancel all of their upcoming lessons. It is true, he felt little bad about such action, but at the same time, he didn’t. After all, it was them who wouldn’t try to do their best, not him. And that frustrated him greatly. What’s the point of me sitting with a kid for half an hour only to teach him one word, which he won’t even remember, he once expressed his sadness to a friend, and I’m pretty sure he will forget it because, through all this time, he’s been playing with his toy on the side… I can see it for fuck’s sake…


Walking into the kitchen after the lesson was finally over, he expressed annoyance to his flatmate, who instantly picked up on the irony. Finally, you know how it felt to be our teacher back in primary school, he said, while preparing himself a sandwich, it ain’t easy to teach, I guess… The boy recognised the truth behind his friend’s statement and sat down by the table feeling a little disappointed. That’s true, it is a difficult job, he agreed with a loud sigh of resignation, maybe I should just drop the classes with those two… Maybe, his friend nodded focused on his food, or maybe you should push through to practice humility and patience with them… His flatmate’s idea didn’t appeal to the boy, but at the same time, it did ring to be a worthy lesson. Maybe you’re right, he hesitated, maybe I should try at least one more time before I let them go…


No wonder some of our teachers were so unhappy, he added almost with a chuckle, teaching those, who don’t want to pay attention is truly gruesome… Now we know their point of view, his friend stated, while taking a seat next to the boy, here’s your sandwich by the way… Thanks, he smiled at the sight of a breakfast already served, thank you, I needed this… His flatmate waved his hand dismissing his statement and took a big bite of his food. There is no understanding of other’s point of view, until one puts themselves in the shoes of the other, pondered the boy while chewing the friend’s made dish. What better way to recognise the trouble we gave to our teachers than to become a teacher and experience that trouble first-hand, he added out loud, making his friend chuckle. That’s true, he agreed, teaching is a pain in the ass sometimes, I bet…

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#prose #creativewriting #foodforthought #teacher #life #learning #acceptance #truestory #philosophy #lesson #contemplation #China #English #experience

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