Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Useless an English teacher

The part-time teachers' room at the place I work on Tuesdays has a secretary. I have been using her recently as I've been cleaning up old student records and so on. I take her the papers with students' personal information on them, and ask to use the shredder. She always takes the papers and tells me not to worry about it, she'll dispose of it herself. I also give her paper that can be recycled or used again.

I am apparently not the only person who has been getting rid of old papers, because recently she has placed a couple of cardboard boxes in prominent view, with neatly handwritten labels, in which we can deposit student records and scrap paper to be disposed of. This is typical of her. She is a friendly, helpful person.

However, I am a little puzzled by the labels. I know she doesn't speak much English, but does she not realize that she is surrounded by English teachers, any of whom would have been happy to help her?

The label on one box says:

USELESS A PRINTED SYNOPSIS OF A LECTURE.

And the other one says:

USELESS A PERSONAL ITEM. REDUCE TO ASHES.

I was going to say something about this (after I'd turned off the grin that had suddenly spread all over my face), but then had the sudden thought that perhaps she had asked one of the Japanese teachers of English to translate the labels for her. I tried to think through the ramifications of the loss of face my correction could cause, but it was the end of a long teaching day and I was too tired, so I went home instead. Now I feel stupid. I should have just told her, quietly. I am useless an English teacher.

I'll tell her next week.

6 comments:

Kay said...

Would an anonymous note with a few lovely chocolates be appropriate?
Kay
p.s. I miss Tuesdays with the Ladies more each week.

Cheryl said...

Lovely!

Wiccachicky said...

Reduce to ashes!!! LOL!! That's awesome. A sticky face situation to be sure though...maybe you can tell her tomorrow.

Lisa said...

i dont think its quite worth it to correct her. they are just boxes for rubbish.

kenju said...

Don't you have to do it in such a way as to allow her not to lose face? A quandary, to be sure. It is funny, though.

Youth in Revolt said...

That's tough. Does she seem to want to learn from mistakes or does she seem happy with the level of English she currently has?
I would just fix the label while she wasn't looking and maybe draw a smiley face to imply "no harm done"
Check out my English teacher blog (and let me know what you think) at: http://texasenglishteacher.blogspot.com