When they just don’t switch on…

Languages are fascinating subjects to teach. The animation that one sees on students’ faces when they know they have something to say, something that’s important, something they’ve just discovered and the light bulb has just switched on inside the brain and has lit up the whole face – I love those moments.

But they don’t always happen.

So often there is a sea of deadness that faces me and the quiet is not industrious but empty and hollow, and a sense of failure touches me and makes me ask: Why can’t I get them motivated? Why do I put myself through this? They don’t even want to learn. This is a waste of time.

Wouldn’t it be exciting to have little red and green lights on their foreheads to indicate whether the correct part of the brain is engaged. Perhaps that might be even more depressing.

Live for the successful moments; that’s what I do. After all, I have many of those dead moments in my own mind. I just have the adult ability to present a veneer of interest and animation whenever it’s required.

Red maples springing to life at the edge of Uiam Dam in South Korea


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