What I Hated the Least Today 95/365: Zombie

23 comments

095

My students are zombies. It’s mildly discomforting. All the signs are unmistakably there.

They won’t respond to stimuli presented and will stare at me with blank eyes. They are catatonic and will hesitate to move even when I declare a break.

When in groups, they experience sudden bursts of activity targeted in unexpected ways. The main idea seems to be to demolish the class and drive the teacher insane. They did a great job with their previous teacher, currently on sick leave with a panic disorder.

I don’t panic. I’m not the panicky type. When facing a zombie apocalypse, I resist by staring right back at them and remaining unmoved. It works in so far that the zombies haven’t zombified me yet. They only have a few more weeks to go before the end of the term, so they’ll need to try harder.

As a gentle nudge to those zombies in the herd who still might have retained some degree of humanity, I played to them a song with a message the last time I dismissed them after class. I instructed them to listen as they were packing their things and dispersing. I doubt the message reached them, but I do hope it discomforted them. Because now they know that I know.

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23 comments on “What I Hated the Least Today 95/365: Zombie”

  1. Do these kiddies need a quick slap upside the head? My view on school these days in the States is that it isn’t what it was when I was sitting at that student desk. Seems school is more a fashion show and who’s got the latest and greatest gadgets than for education. The public schools here have become less than centers of education, rather indoctrination stations.

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    1. I find people odd, and young people the oddest. I firmly believe that teaching at a primary or secondary school is life hazard for the teacher. It’s slightly better at the university level. The trick is just to zen out and don’t let the students get you. As long as they don’t behave as persons, I don’t feel obliged to consider them persons.

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  2. That was good … hope they got the [taciturn] message 🙂

    It’s weird though … they’ve chosen to be there?! It’s not like compulsory school …

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    1. At the university, I learned that logic doesn’t apply, so I’m usually not too surprised at anything, no matter how little sense it makes. It does seem a bit odd though for someone who doesn’t want to study English to enroll at a university to study it. I’ll see if they got the message in the next class. But I seriously doubt that. I need to come up with some hardcore way of waking them up. Maybe the lochgelly… 😉

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  3. Mara, I had your class many times over the years…we considered dynamite as a way of moving them but to no avail…..the really irritating thing was come exam time they were all over you for all the sheets you allegedly handed out during the term…..many were as you described sponges willing to soak up all they could and not give any indication there were hearing anything……hang in there till terms end…..then have a good holiday somewhere over the rainbow as you may be a tad gaga by then……

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    1. I think congratulations are due to you for surviving teaching your zombie classes. It sometimes feels strange to be the only person in the classroom alive. I didn’t consider dynamite as it might have an adverse impact on the building’s structural integrity, but I did consider getting myself a cane. I can’t even scratch the blackboard with my nails to annoy my students with the sounds because we have whiteboards. So I imagine myself as an old-time evil schoolmarm waving the cane threateningly and promising to kill the students – again, since they’re already dead – if they won’t show any vital signs in class.

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      1. Those kids take the purpose of drawing breath away from you don’t they. Have you thought of the reverse strategy of offering incentives like chocolate?
        I found chocolate an excellent currency to use with certain classes. In fact next Saturday I am having lunch with young ladies I taught in my final year. These were not in the zombie classes, obviously. I taught drama and I taught in a way that excited me…

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        1. I have tried offering chocolates actually! It didn’t really work. I don’t think my zombie class is interested in anything at all.

          Teaching drama sounds extremely tricky. I wonder what happens in a drama class when the students refuse to respond to stimuli.

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          1. What I learned is that if I treated the stimuli with unparalleled amounts of enthusiasm they would usually go along with me out of kindness I am sure or I would admit failure and move to something else…in drama you have to be flexible and had a thick hide….95% of my class was taken up with performance based activities because their exams were 60% performance and 40% written and as I taught smart kids the theory could be treated in such a way to give them license to explore and discover that part for themselves and then ask for guidance and even a question or two…..I found it important to make it clear why e were doing what we were doing…..like I wrote a few plays over the years and so in one case it was a matter of saying we are exploring all the aspects of performance including the creation of the play….worked a treat and I did have to do a lot of re writing but we ended up with a performance every one was happy with.

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          2. You have a point about trying to move your students with your enthusiasm. Sometimes when I get excited about my subject (which is rarely the subject pertinent to the particular lesson), I notice that students stare at me with disbelief, wondering how on earth I can get so worked up about something so boring. But then at least they do pay attention.

            I can’t imagine how teaching drama works. It scares me to imagine even. I once signed up for a drama class accidentally, not realising that it would involve acting, and spent there five minutes before seeing my mistake and running away to unenroll myself very fast.

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          3. Yes drama can be like that, scary, confronting, an activity you’d rather push a peanut across a road with your nose than participate in. I knew a few kids like that when they discovered my version of drama wasn’t what they imagined.
            But believe it or not an area I achieved most in as a teacher. So there is something to judge me by as I am sure you have already done.
            I was in a meeting once at school and said something to which I was told I was only a drama teacher and made feel my opinion didn’t count…..I’ve been scarred ever since as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

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          4. I’ll take the peanut pushing rather than acting. I have enough acting when I teach class – a teacher has to be something of an actor too.

            A drama teacher’s opinion doesn’t count? That’s classic. It’s like the usual comment that a PhD is not a real doctor. On which I tell people that it’s not less but actually more than a doctor of medicine because a PhD means two full-length courses of study, not “just” five years or so at the medical school. By the time I finish my vindication, nobody listens, of course.

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          5. Good to know my back gets tired when too much bowing and scraping is required. And you’d be disappointed as we Australians are often irreverent to authority figures.

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          6. I consider irreverence to authority figures normal and delightful because it’s subversive. However, there’s just one thing good about having a PhD – where I live, academic titles are the subject of worship. No one will take me seriously unless I throw in their face that I’m a doctor. Which I duly do.

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          7. Do you find it gets you upgraded on flights…my former SIL was a Dr like you and would often be upgraded because she put her title on her plane ticket….but I guess its good knowing there is at least one place in the world where you will be worshiped…we mere drama teachers can only dream of such adulation…

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          8. Sadly, that’s not the case in my case. What I had in mind was rather that public institution employees tend to treat you as a fellow person when they discover that you’re more educated than them. It’s nice.

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          9. That look of disbelief you know is really that tiny part of their brain which says ‘ hey maybe this mad woman does know more than us, who’d a thought it.’

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      2. Ps I might advise against the cane you might have kids dos in your class who would enjoy you using it on them. Just think of the headlines in the paper the day: Teacher finds way to bring zombies back to life.

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