When One Door Opens; Another is Locked?

Day 2 of 32 lessons as a mature student. Reading through the notes still upset me even after all these years later. It’s the disappointment that hurts the most. It was like reliving my school days. All my frustrations bubbled up in me along with my anger too. This wasn’t help by the fact my ex-husband (and few other people close to me) use to undermined my self-belief and because of this I tended to react badly when others patronise me. I see a look in their eyes and hear a tone in their voice that makes me scream inside, I’m not as stupid as you think!

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My dyslexia might be seen as a curse. There has been times when I’ve hatred myself for not being good enough, nor clever enough, but it has made me more compassion towards others. As I sat in the college with others who, like me, had slipped through the British education system simply because we needed extra tuitions. I knew like me they had set aside their shame of not being good enough in hope that these classes would help them. It made my blood boil to be confronted by Mr C, with his university education, and his couldn’t careless attitude. It seemed like he was only interested in earning a few extra pounds for his pocket rather than teach us.

Day 2 of 32: My Life As A Mature Student.

I buzzed with anticipation as I arrived early for my second lesson. The first lesson had been a disappointment, but I was sure Mr C would be more organised this time. Outside the classroom, I found one of my classmates waiting.

“So you’ve came back then?”  she said with a bright smile.

I laughed, and said “I live in hope.”

As we chatted another woman arrived. She asked us if we were queuing for the English class. She explained, she was unable to make it last week and had been told it would be fine for her to come along this week.  She had tried to get in contact with the teacher, but he hadn’t returned any of her calls. 

Mr C arrived, with arms full of folders, in a fluster. He tried to unlock the classroom door by punching in a code.  After the third attempted he asked Ms. Bright Smile what the code was.

 “Can’t you remember?” she said, with a laugh.

“Well, I through it 2503, but that doesn’t seem to work.

“Oh, I thought it was 2303?” said Ms. Bright Smile. (She knew the code as the class was used for the Math class on a different night.)

Oh great! I thought while my heart began to sink, not a great start to the evening as the two hour grew shorter by the minute.

Once the door was opened, I sat as close as I could to the teacher, not wanting to miss one word of his pearls of wisdom. Soon the rest of the class had arrived and we all sat in a semi-circle around Mr.C eager to learn.  His first question to the class was to ask if any of us read books.

Not wanting to look too eager I didn’t raise my hand even though I had just finished reading ‘The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.’

“Okay,” he said.  “How many of you had read a book in the last month?” 

Two people put up their hands, including me. 

“Okay,” he said, “Now how many of you have read a book in the last year?”

Two more out of a class of ten put up their hands.

“Right, now I want you all to go to a library, and get out a book on a subject you know nothing about and read it. Reading is fun. I have just been reading a collection of books that I should have read when I was 16 years old. Then he went on to list them, these included two works by Charles Dickens. With a hint of sarcasm he said, “Though, I must say I will never read Dickens again.”

Great, I thought, that’s going a long way to encourage those among us to read something they’ve never thought about read before.  Mr Dickens will never be on their lists now.

Next, he told us another one of his pearls of wisdom though I was at a lost to understand his logic.

“I think children at the age of six years old should be made to work.  And when they reach eighteen they should come to college. It would make teaching them far easier.”

I sat there wondering whether we might at any time in the next 31 weeks start to learn anything useful, when he uttered the magical word, ‘Grammar.’  

“Grammar,” I whispered as though it was an incantation. I sat up straight with my pen poised over my writing pad. My dreams of understand English Grammar was moving closer.

Mr. C started handing out sheets of paper. After getting halfway around the class he started to apologise for not having enough. “Could some of you share,” he said, with a grin.

“What is a verb?”  He read from the sheet.  “Can anyone tell me, which is the verb in the first sentence?  Ann is in the car?”  He looked about the room, but no one answered.

 Stupidly, I said, “Car?”

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“No, a sentence is made up of subject, a verb, and an object.  In the sentence, Ann is in the car. The word ‘is’ in that sentence is the verb,” he went on to explain what words are verbs, and those words are placed anywhere with in a sentence. ‘I’m working.’  Is a sentence made up of two verbs.  What’s and what is both are verbs so to are ‘You’re and you are.’  

   After about ten minutes of grammar, Mr C stood up and said, “Right now, I’m sure I’ve bored you all enough now.  I would like five of you at a time to go on to the computers as I’ve found an amazing spelling game. I would like you all to play it.”

     Sorry, did I hear that right?  The thought travelled across the far reaches of my brain as my mind took in what he had just said. I hatred hearing those two words being linked together. ‘Computer and Games’

What had happen to teachers saying things like “Parents allowed their kids to spend too much time in front of the computers, playing game and watching TV rather that reading or writing.”

Okay, so we’re not kids, but if you saw how quickly the chosen five leapt out of their seat, you too would have changed your mind.

After setting them up with the computers, he turned to the rest of the class and told us he wanted us to write a short piece about ourselves using sentences.  We worked away quietly. Then after five minutes he came to us one at a time and chatted about what we had put down.  He pointed out our mistakes until one of the computers spelling team said they were finished. 

“Let’s have a break.”  Mr C said and class disappeared before my very eyes.

“Are you not coming?” he asked, with a gentle smile.

“Do you mind if I stay here, and write as I don’t smoke,” I asked.

“No, that’s fine; of course not, you carry on.”

Half hour later, the class returned and four more went to play the spelling game.

I kept my head down and carried on writing.  Then I heard the teacher talking to Motorbike Dave.  He asked him if he did much writing.  Motorbike Dave said he did not. 

“I would like you to do some homework,” Mr C said.

Wow, I thought, we’ll have homework, more grammar I hoped.  I longed to hold out my little hand in eagerness.

Mr. C went on to explain that he wanted Motorbike Dave to do some writing at home, as there was only five minute until we were finish for the evening.

So no homework, no grammar and just read a book on any subject we liked.

So what have I learn so far?

A sentence has a subject + a verb + an object.

A sentence should be made up to ten words long.

Some words work as nouns, other as verbs, others as adjectives

Ann is in her car.  (‘is’ is the verb)

I’m working.  (Are two verbs)

So, what’s the time?  (‘what’s’ is the verb)

You’re working hard today.  (You’re & working are two verbs)

Is your English getting any better.  (‘Is’ is the verb’)

Not bad going for a two-hour lesson, would you say? 🤷‍♀️

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Bet you can’t wait for lesson three…

3 thoughts on “When One Door Opens; Another is Locked?

Add yours

  1. The thought that he was getting paid to teach… I’m speechless. My fingers are crossed that things improved.

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