When Height is the Question

teaching ESL old school

I was late, it was raining, and I didn’t see the ominous puddle in front of the bus shelter. Yeah, some wiseass decided to soak me really good–I know it was a conscious decision because the next 200 cars or trucks did not hit that puddle.  The wave generated was over my head.  I wasn’t as wet as my ride in the Epic Tour, but going to work in wet shoes is bad enough.  Going to work in wet shoes and wet clothes is horrible.

Getting to work late, didn’t mean late for work. I have enough margin for error (the unofficial slogan of the TTC–the Toronto Transit Commission, or Take The Car) that I wasn’t going to be late for work, I was just going to be late for my “acclimation and calm down time.”

Obviously nothing I have written above qualifies as Today’s Perfect Moment. Those are terrible moments that would be even more poignant on a Monday in November.  No, I had something else in mind.

I was teaching my class of students who are all over 30. I had them practice questions with the present perfect and mingle amongst themselves.  When the all stood up, I was confronted with their height.  Most of them were taller than me.  I am no giant.  I am probably slightly below average height.  This doesn’t normally bother me as most of the people in my family are shorter than I am (except my younger brother and all of my nephews–but they grow kids bigger these days.)  My friends are taller than me, but I don’t notice it.  In fact, the only time I noticed it was back in University when my incredibly tall friend Christina confided in me that the tall man she was breaking up with fought back with her by saying I was short.  Since we weren’t dating, this did not seem to have the desired effect on her.  It bothered me a little, but since he lost his girlfriend, I tried not to spite him.

Back to today. So, I am standing in class, with the students forming a rough circle around me.  They weren’t towering above me, but I could definitely feel the swelling of pride.  Fortunately, there were two women in the class who classified as petit.

Why is this Today’s Perfect Moment? Lots of reasons, really.  The first is that learning a bit of humility is important. A person with an undeservedly large ego usually gets crushed.  The second is that the reveal of this thing was kind of cool.  Everyone stood up and I found myself not making eye contact, but rather eye-shoulder contact.

I managed to get through the lesson, but in the back of my mind, things felt different.

About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
This entry was posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, ESL, learning, rain, students, teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to When Height is the Question

  1. I laughed at this blog. I am 5’2” (maybe shorter these days) and rarely had an issue when teaching in China until one high school. The boys and girls seemed awfully tall. In the span of less than 20 years I had been witness to what good, countrywide, nutrition can do to a generation. It happens here too, we just are not as surprised.

  2. retrodee says:

    I’m just under 5’2″ and just finding out that I was short by 1950’s standards as well. Oh and did I mention my female cousins on my Dad’s side are 5’7″, 5’9″ and 5’11”? That’s always fun when we take photos. The topic of height is never a perfect moment for me… but you know what they say “if you can’t laugh at yourself!” 😀

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