What did you learn at school today, my dear little child?

– Oh dad, you’ve got to hear this: today my teacher taught me how to lie!

– That’s great, son! How did she manage to do this?

– Well, it took me a while toget it, because it’s no simple stuff, but she just gave us lots of examples, she actually dictated a list we had to memorize, and she said that every day she will test us, to see if we studied properly. Here, take a look at the list:

  1. Don’t trust us adults. We’re unpredictable. We might get up one day, decide we’ve had it with your behavior, and make a scapegoat out or you.
  2. Always try to lie. Teachers don’t punish you for lying, and that’s even if you do get caught.
  3. Your best strategy is to make your teacher think that your weak students. This way you’ll also get the most help, and they’ll also bump up your grade in the end, so you don’t “get screwed”.
  4. Got caught doing something wrong? deny it all. They don’t believe you? deny again. If you deny just enough, and persistently enough, the teacher won’t be able to do anythink to you.
  5. Do you smoke? too bad. Just make sure you do so in places, where teacher make sure not to find themselves, because we know you smoke there. If we catch you, we’ll have to expel you. And that’s something we really don’t want to do. You still managed to get yourselves caught? go back to 4.

– That’s very impressive, son. Do you think you’ll be able to memorize so much material?

– Sure, dad, cause you didn’t wait for 6: always carry your cheat-sheets with you…

Target Language – Teenagerish

I’m a teacher. And I’m a translator. Well, for starters it’s a great second income, and as is well known – every teacher needs one.

But this morning it suddenly struck me: there is a deep connection between my two professional fields. Of course, both of them surround words. But that’s nothing to write home about. In a much deeper sense, my work as a teacher involves many of the skills I require as a translator. In fact, my objective as a teacher is to translate the knowledge for my students into a language they know. Because the idea, both in translation work and in the classroom, is that the words you choose are importance, the order in which you choose to place them is significant, punctuation marks matter. Alternatively, in class, it is the rhythm and tone of speech. In both fields you have to be attentive to the needs of the customer (oh, how much I hate the use of this word in connection with students!), to try and understand in advance how best to deliver the message from the source language to the target language. In my case, the target language is Teenagerish: it has its own grammar, its own internal logic, and its own irregular verbs that change at a very very rapid pace. These changes make Teenagerish the hardest language to learn, but for me – as a translator, they also make it the most challenging and enjoyable language to learn.

And yet, there is one important difference (well there are several, but one that is relevant here) between translation work and teaching: as a tranlsator, I have no need for the customer to eventually understand the source language. As a teacher, my ultimate goal is not merely to understand Teenagerish, but to enable my students to reach a stage, where they are fluent in Adultish.

Educating is Believing

Educating is believing.

It’s about believing, that even if youd can’t see the results, something of you touches something of them.

It’s about believing, that in each child and in each teenager that you meet there is a spark, dormant and hidden as may be, a spark that if only gets blown by the right wind, could ignite in a great flame.

It’s about believing in the ability to improve, to change, to grow.

In many ways, education is a kind of religion: there’s something out there, not always comprehensible, almost undetectable and resisting definition, that you just know – with blind faith – that is beyond all reason.

To educate is to know, that no matter how much of a role model you may be, none of your students will be like you. And this is not a byproduct – it’s the desired result.

Because what matters the most is not what you gave, but what they choose to take.

Educating is believing, that change is possible; it’s believing in the children, that they are capable of change.

If you lack the power to believe – you have no business educating.