How My Day Was Like a Sandwich


Today’s two Perfect Moments nicely sandwich a particularly ugly part of my day. For you to fully understand, I am going to have to write about all three of them.

The first Perfect Moment, or the bottom slice of bread if you are still following the sandwich analogy, happened when I arrived at my bus stop early this morning. It was cool, but not particularly cold.  It was raining a bit, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  The digital sign board explained that the regular bus was arriving in five minutes and the express bus was arriving in five minutes.  Obviously, I chose to take the express bus, which meant waiting around because despite what the sign said, I knew they weren’t both going to arrive at the same time.

When I finally stepped onto my bus, which arrived two minutes after the regular one, I quickly realized that I was the only passenger. I have been the last passenger on the bus before, but that was as I was heading home and people got off the bus one by one, leaving me alone.  In this case, I was first.

While this is definitely a Perfect Moment, it was short lived as people got on at the next stop. Oddly enough, the next passenger to board the bus walked right past me to sit at the back seat.  He then proceeded to share his particularly bad taste in music with me, rather than savour it with his headphones.  Maybe he didn’t have headphones.  Maybe he enjoyed hearing his music played over tiny speakers with lots of distortion.  After putting up with it for a while, I turned around and asked him to turn it down.  He turned it off.

Standing up for oneself is definitely worth being called Today’s Perfect Moment.


The other Perfect Moment, or top slice in the ugly sandwich, was a little treat I was saving for the last break. It was an icy square.  These have been a Christmas tradition in my family for as long as I can remember.  Having one of these delicious treats after my horrible morning certainly went a long way towards redeeming the day.

What was so ugly about my day, you wonder. Hold on to your hats as this ride is about to get bumpy.

In my morning class I have a student who has told me that he is better than his level indicates. I asked him to stop telling me and start showing me.  Instead, he has spent his time on his cell phone, rarely participating, and not even answering direct questions.  He has displayed other anti-social behaviour, but I don’t want to get into the specifics.

Today, after arriving late, he did not participate and put his head down on his desk and went to sleep. While I might be sympathetic to the plight of the tired teenager, I don’t think school is the place to sleep.

I snuck out and talked to my boss. He advised kicking him out of class, so that is what I did after writing an email and identifying all of his personality deficiencies.  I tried to be as truthful as possible.

Of course, the student refused to leave. Rather than get into a confrontation with him, I let him stew on his own and just made sure he didn’t sleep again–and believe me he tried.  I gave him a chance to participate, but he refused.

I had hoped he would turn it around and show me that he was in the wrong level. Instead, he showed me that he is in the right level, but may never get out of there.  The key things for me were that my boss backed me up, my boss seemed likely to do something about it (suspension, expulsion….we will see) and that I was given some empowerment.

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 bus, commuting, difficulties, empowerment, ESL, perfect moment, sandwich, students, teaching, Viva, York Region. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How My Day Was Like a Sandwich

  1. capejohn says:

    It’s nice to be on a team that backs each other. I had a disruptive student when I was substituting in a local school. I sent him to the office to get 5 detention slips. As he was leaving I stopped him and said “get me six. I need one for you.”

  2. It is so frustrating to have a student so unwilling to even try to learn. I had a class that was deemed the ‘bad class’ in one Chinese school. By the time I took over (March) they had gone through 3 or 4 teachers since the start of the school year! It was indeed a difficult class. I called in back up, vice-principal talked to them. I was the first foreign teacher to threaten, then follow through, with action. Did it work? Sadly, only for a few weeks. By then I did not care because I was leaving.

  3. Hunida says:

    In High School, one of my English teachers made Plank from Ed, & Edd, & Eddy (a piece of wood with a face drawn on lol) & she warned us on the first day, she’d slam it on your desk if you fell asleep. One time, I really could not keep my eyes open so she did it to me & I almost had a heart attack & could not even go back to sleep if I wanted to. 😂 Sorry your student is giving you such a hard time but at least your boss has your back!

    I’d love to try one of those treats, I’ve never heard of them! & I HATE when people listen to their music like that guy on the bus. Go you for telling him to turn it off! Glad he didn’t give you any kind of trouble!

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