Sweating My Ass Off In Class

In our Small Stars classes, at the end of each unit we have a special class called a life club. A life club is supposed to be a fun class in which kids are able to use the language they already know in a fun and interactive way. So my Small Stars just finished their first unit and we were having a life club on animals. The kids learned the English words for panda, elephant, and tiger.


For life clubs we don’t use our regular rooms, we use our big demo room (specifically built for life clubs), which has an interactive whiteboard. The interactive whiteboard allows us to pull pictures offline and then to draw and do funny things with the kids in an interactive way on this board. The day before the life club I made sure that I knew how everything worked and that it was working properly because I didn’t want to have to be fumbling with it the day of the class and have it not work and I would have little to no time before the class to prep.

So the day of the lesson can around and I had just finished a one-to-one class with this guy who we call Big Gay Tony. I have ten minutes before my Small Stars class starts and I run into the life club demo room to turn on the interactive white board. Now earlier in the day I had seen people playing and messing with the interactive white board. So when I turned it on, the interactive part of the board doesn’t work.

7 MINUTES BEFORE CLASS: I am starting to get nervous, I run to the teacher’s room and call two senior teachers to come and take a look at the board.

6 MINUTES BEFORE CLASS: All three of us have tried logging in to see if the interactive white board is working. I even try hitting the board (because it is interactive) to see if would work. It doesn’t.

3 MINUTES BEFORE CLASS: At this point I am starting to sweat. And being a Schwarz, it is not just a little bit of sweat. I am drenched in sweat. We find out that the “IT guy” (because he isn’t really an IT guy he just messes around with the computers) was fooling around with the white board and apparently did something to it. We try calling him but he won’t pick up his phone.

1 MINUTE BEFORE CLASS: I say to myself f@#k it, I will have do without it. I run back to make photocopies of the material I was going to use on the board. Sweat is really pouring down now. I am mopping my head with my shirt and my shirt is just becoming soaked through.

-1 MINUTES: I go back to the life club demo room and realize that the computer had locked on another teacher’s page and can only be reopened by that teacher. I run around the school looking for him but can’t find him. I have to manually shut down the computer and restart it.

-2 MINUTES: I enter my classroom drenched in sweat and the kids are going berserk with excitement that I “the entertainment” have just entered the classroom and will be putting on an hour show.

The class goes well, but it involved me acting and running around a lot. We acted out how to be a tiger, elephant, and a panda. We did some coloring and cutting. And we went on a safari looking for the different animals we had just learned about.


I teach two Small Star classes back to back. The first class is really smart and picked everything up really quickly but the second class is just a little bit slower and it takes them a little longer to grasp words and concepts. But go figure, the interactive white board worked for the second class.



About JoelS

Spending a year teaching English and saving the world in China
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