Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Drinking and Condoms - What to Say?

After over 5 years of teaching international students, there's not a lot of things that can embarrass me in class. I've had a student discussing the shape of China yell over his classmates that it is "shaped like a cock" (meaning rooster, of course...what else could it possibly mean?), another student created an advertisement for a fictitious eraser company named "Cheap Rubbers", I've given advice on birth control and safe dating practices, discussed drugs and drinking, breastfeeding and childbirth. While not a lot embarasses me anymore, they are still a few things that I'm not sure how to respond to.

For example, what do you say when a student tells you he spent all weekend drinking and doesn't remember anything? That back in his country he drank every night? Do you mention that he might have a drinking problem?

Or, what do you say when you notice a student has a condom (in a bright pink package, no less) attached to one of the zippers on the outside of his backpack. Do you ask if he knows what it is and that it's probably not appropriate to carry it in such a manner?

Generally, as I did today with these two examples, I keep my mouth shut. My students are, after all, adults, and their choices are their choices. I will happily offer advice if asked, but otherwise, it is not my place to dive into their personal lives, other than how it relates to learning English and my classroom environment.

Teaching is an ever changing, and ever challanging job. No two days are ever the same...and some days, like today, are stranger than others...that's for sure!

No comments:

Post a Comment