Private School: I was in the middle of my teaching when out of the blue one of my students raised his hand to ask me a “question”. I said:” Is your question text based or something not related to the material directly?” The kid with his smiley face answered: “Out of the text if you don’t mind.” “Go ahead” I said. “My taxi driver service (ranndeh azhans) asked me to come to you ask this question.” He said. What does son of a ….He paused in order to remember the word! I said” Isn’t it bitch? He jumped up gladly and said” Yeah! That’s it!” So, what does it mean? What would you have done if you were me? Two of them were giggling and I knew the trap was there for me so, I fell into their game. Go tell him “Haroomzadeh” I laughed and said. Yeah! That’s what it means. I said it loudly. What does “Haroomzadeh” mean? He asked again. I really couldn’t go any further to give him more explanation on the subject.” Come to me after the class and I would give you more explanation.” I said.The whole class was laughing out loud.
Public School: The class is over. One of the teenagers came to me and said:” Excuse me, what does shut up mean?” He wasn’t the kind of teenager who intended to make fun of his teacher.” Why do you want to know about this?” I said.” My cousin asked me to come to you and ask this question.” “Go and tell you cousin: Khafe sho “I laughed and said. Go and ask your cousin “Do you know what an asshole means?” and I asked him to pronounce the word a couple of times not to forget it.
The other day we had a discussion in the class about “Apathy” and one of my students sent me an email regarding the prevalent apathy among Iranian youth and how these youths with no “future” drive madly in the street to give their life some “meaning”. I thought the idea of sharing this with you might be a good idea! I sent the email to my American pal and here is his answer:
Your Students express themselves well: perhaps it is my own American experience, or perhaps it is my experience of how we are perceived in the World, but I think that the concept your Students were trying to express was the concept of apathy. It is such a small word, apathy, and the Dictionary defines it simply as "a lack of feeling or interest", but the reality is really quite different, isn't it? Apathy is a hard thing to live with, and an even harder thing to overcome. Rather than being a "lack" of feeling, those who are apathetic feel quite intensely: they feel as if nothing that they say or do really matters, so what differences do their actions or choices really make? What makes this problem worse is the reality that there are people who will use this apathy to their own advantage. Several of them are in power throughout the World right now, and the choices they make, and the results they produce, are created, at least in part, because the people that can see their true motivations feel powerless to stop them. Bush preys on the apathy of the American people: and the whole World suffers because of it. Other World Leaders like Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin may protest what Bush does, but in the end they support him, because they know that one day it will be them that needs help, and they feel helpless to deal with World situations themselves. Apathy certainly isn't unique to America: it is felt by everyone, everywhere, as your Students own papers show. Why shouldn't we drive fast on the roads? What we do in Life really matters, so why not feel alive for a few brief moments when we're behind the wheel? Once we're there, we do have some power: we could run this person or that person over and end their Life, couldn't we? Have you seen the advertisements for those ridiculously huge sport-utility vehicles, like the Lincoln Navigator, and even the Hummer, which started out as a Military-only vehicle and is now available for public purchase? Do you know who buys the majority of these vehicles in America? Unmarried, College-Educated, Professional Women! It is certainly different from the rugged, male/outdoorsman/hiker persona in the commercials: these Women usually live in large cities, and never go off-roading, or near any areas where this vehicle would be practical. They are usually used within the cities themselves, to go back and fourth to work, and to run errands. Part of this is certainly prestige: "look what I can afford!", but a lot of it also has to do with apathy. Professional Women (and Men) are usually successful because they have put their personal lives on hold while they go out to succeed in Business. Women have a harder time of it because they cannot (in their minds) have a family while they are brokering a large deal in a huge office. They feel a kind of apathy because they know they're missing something, and the makers of these things use that against them. But, to get back to your Student's papers, a lack of direction in Life is certainly not unique to Iran, it is felt here as well: by a great many people. This lack of direction leads to apathy, and that is a path that is hard to leave. It is hard to say what can be done to help someone put their feet on the right path again: for some, it is Religion, for others, it is a random event that gives their Lives meaning. Both of these are very rare occurrences, and in their absence, it is hard for another to help. Perhaps the only thing we can give to each other is our presence: the fact that they are not alone in their feeling may offer a person some hope? Perhaps then, within that group, a common goal or objective can be reached, it doesn't have to be something Earth-shattering, a small thing they can all do together to make their World better is all that is needed. Perhaps as a group, those Souls that are unheard can finally be heard, and empowering them to do that is something wonderful and rare in itself! Well, I have rambled on, haven't I? I hope that your Students will find what they need: it may come to them all on its own, and I Pray that it does. Please be well! John
Last week we had a discussion about “boyfriend and girlfriend” relationship in the class and I asked my students (grown ups) to comment on the subject and send me an email as one of their class activities. Here are some of them(I kept the originality)
Afshin: I think although there is a lot of limitation for boyfriend and girlfriend relationships in our society but, there is no reason that boyfriend and girlfriend relationships with thinking to the concept of sex is strong .I think some people can have someone of the opposite sex as their friend without thinking of sex. Then after a while if they find each other suitable, they could start an engagement, and after that will be marriage. Although static of divorce is up in our society but its main reason is poverty. However, the main reason of divorce in the west is disloyalty to husband or wife. I think sexual drive is an important agent for beginning a relationship between two opposite sexes, and maybe it can be the base of a marriage. After marriage we must plan more accurate than before because responsibilities are increased and we have to resist and challenge against of problems. After marriage we seldom can spend time with our friends and parents and every thing is overshadowed by our family.
Hesam: In my country (Iran) there is some limitation for the relationship between men and women that cause many problems and difficulties in society. One of those problems is about sex. For example when the government pressure is on the people (boy and girl) they make boy and girl to do something wrong and make them to have mistake in their life. [relationships end up in sexual intercourse] to have sex with the opposite of your sex is the usual thing that cause most couples and some people who got married to have children but on the other way for many young people and teenager this subject is not true because there will be sexual diseases. this subject is made by the government pressure and I think every thing that happen in your life is coming back and reacting by your government and I think there is no reason to make people not to do something, because people have brain and they are able to think about something that is around of their life and be curious about something that they can’t do them but, on the other hand in the west there is no limitation for doing something that you want some like having sex with the opposite of your sex and made people to think about some other thing that is useful for their society than the other things and it makes the society be healthy and full of science.
Ali: In Iran because of strong limitation in men and women relationship the most of friend ship between girls and boys happened in order to sex and more them fifty present of marriages happen with the some goal too. So the main aim of marriage has been lost. (but) in the west they have a phenomenon of cohabitation [the practice of a man living with a woman without getting married] that most of people in these societies accept that and I believe that it causes people not to feel any lack of sex so, when they decide to marry someone they think correctly about the main goal of marriage and it makes the concept of marriage stronger.
I want to thank you about this term. I get more benefit information from you. You said wrote an article about everything .you know I still want to know why most Iranian's boys want to have sex with their girlfriend after first or second time that they met each other. I think one of the reasons can be that in Iran we haven't reasonable freedom or Iranian's boy has more lust! And or Iranian's girl are extra attractive I will appreciated if you have any idea about this. Thank you again about every thing. By the way you know when I could write this email. Guess come on. Okay I say. 2 hours before 90 th minute (just for kidding).
OK boys! Listen up! Next session you are supposed to write about one of your favorite subjects that have kept you thinking about through your life. A: Mr. Frankie, can I write about the last discussion we had in the classroom? Me: which one? A: The one about”sex” Remember the question I asked you as why all my relationships with girls end up with sexual intercourse? Me: Yeah, So? A: Can I send you the email about that subject? Me: Yeah, sure! And I am sure just as you start writing new ideas pops into your mind. A: But I have had my pop up blocker installed sir and an anti virus too ;) Me: Oh really? How come you get so infected so much :)? A: Not a clue! Me: I know! I think your anti virus isn’t updated otherwise; you wouldn’t get infected a lot! The class is over with students laughing out loud and pulling their friends’ leg on installing a new version of the anti virus!
Seat Belt, Force, The students 10:00 A.M. You get into the taxi. You are surprised to see that it is only” packed” with only five and not the usual six; three in the back seat and three in the front. The passenger in the front seat is wearing seat belts including the taxi driver himself, like what you see in more” culturally understood” countries. You become glad to see that people are getting to obey the traffic rules overnight after the public announcement by the media. After all Rome was built overnight!!!? Or wasn’t it? From now on who on earth could possibly dare to say that Iran has one of the highest rates of accidents in the world after this “Conversion? “ Hey, let’s drink a glass of optimism and upchuck all the “pessimistic” views over the uncivilized “culture” of Iranian drivers. 10:00 P.M. You get into the taxi and go straight to the front door to sit where possibly you aren’t expecting any one sitting next to you. After all, taxis now have the capacity of only five people. You are relaxed and have to listen to the taxi driver’s favorite music. After all it’s HIS taxi. The back seat is full. The car is stopped. Another passenger got on the taxi right beside you; so close, so intimate that you sometimes wonder how these two [me and the big man sitting next to me] would possibly be viewed through the eyes of a foreigner? From a Western eye we would be considered as “gay” because the man’s hand is around my poor shoulder. My shoulders are getting “necked.” I feel a little embarrassed but the big man is his usual self. CAREFREE is the word. I want to get off the taxi and walk the rest but, Damn! It’s raining cats and dog! No one is wearing the seat belt now just because THE POLICE isn’t around After all; it’s TEN PM After all. How is this post related to MY Students? I am going through the students’ homework but after 2 month of preaching them on how to do their homework appropriately, some of them seem not to have gotten the hold of it. Some of them are a real pain in the you know where. The next time that I threatened them to give them extra homework, they seemed to “get” it quite well. NOW, let’s cheers!
I returned the student’s paper.Then came the “encouragement” part. As a teacher I have different ways to support my student’s efforts. One is through marking them up. [Read financially]And clapping and saying nice things for the “best” ones. [Read spiritually]I ask the good graders to come to the blackboard, and then I pat on their back for a job well done. Sometimes I write a few good words on their special notebooks (the notebook is for all the good or “evil” things a student might do through the year and they are given some things like a ball, a watch,etc…as a gift if they would have been well behaved and done a good job.) Today after returning the student’s paper and praising them, one of them came to me with his special notebook I told you about. I was going to write a few good words when he said that the notebook is his friend’s who had gotten the worst grade. He asked me if it was possible to write the good words in his FRIEND’S notebook so, he would be praised instead of himself. I didn’t pause a second. No question on whys? Or saying something like:” HE is the one who must put up a good job.” I did it pronto! The students were surprised to see that their teacher was doing this. How in the world could this be possible to get praised for a job YOU haven’t done? Here is the why? Right there I had a flashback to my childhood memories and remembered the time where I was a 12 year old kid who was weak in math and strong in dictation. I had asked our teacher if it was possible to decrease my dictation grade to add it to my math grade. Her answer was A BIG no! Boy, I was really disappointed! So when that student of mine came up with that request I couldn’t ignore his request. My answer was a big YES. I doubted if I had done the right thing afterward but, now that I think of it I am almost sure that my yes answer was right.Maybe, the worst grader become motivated a bit and turns on a light. I am not sure but, if he just starts to think for moments about his future, I think someone should pat on MY back for a job well done.
The college professor says: Such rawness in a pupil is a shame, Lack of preparation in high school is to blame. But the high school teacher says: Good heavens! Such crudity; the boy’s a fool. The fault, of course, is in the middle school. But the middle school teacher says: From such stupidity may I be spared? They send them to me so unprepared. But the primary teacher says: Kindergarten blockheads and they call That prepration? Worse than none at all. But the kindergarten teacher says: Such a lack of training never did I see. What kind of mother must that mother be? But the mother has the final word. Mother says: Poor helpless child;hes not to blame. His father’s people are all the same.
The subject of accepting and receiving gifts came up and right there one of my student started by saying” The last time I got a gift from my girlfriend was a titanium ring but, since my fingers get swollen wearing one; I didn’t wear it. Oh, boy! You can’t imagine how the shit hit the fan the next time I saw her. She got mad with me and believed I didn’t wear it because I didn’t t love her.” The other one started by saying” See this watch on my hand? It’s a gift from my girlfriend [Almost all these grown ups have girlfriends and they were so relaxed to share it with others] but since I liked my previous watch better, I didn’t wear this one and she got mad at me and the quarrel continued to the point where I told her the unsaid secret I had in mind for a long time that I didn’t mean to marry her at all and that I was going to dump her and period! That was the last time I saw her.” I started by saying” As far as I know some guys here happen to have two, three girlfriends and it is no shame at all and some are proud to have more than one girlfriend but, the funny point is that if you happen to have a relationship with a girl it is considered as “boyfriend_girlfriend”relationship and to be a friend of a girl without thinking to the concept of sex is almost impossible. They are to gather for a while and the relationship is a matter of bang bang thank you ma’m and that’s all. The concept of marriage is almost nonexistent in there but, in the west you can have someone of the opposite sex as your friend without thinking of sex first hand then after a while, if they find each other suitable they could start a boyfriend girlfriend relationship and the concept of marriage is “stronger” in a relationship there. They were nodding their heads in agreement with their teacher.