No matter how much TEFL training you do and how well you plan your lessons, there will always be times when it all goes just a little bit wrong. And when that happens, there’s nothing you can do but realise that some poor teacher out there has done much worse. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at these funny TEFL stories, guaranteed to get you laughing!
Board Markers Mean Trouble In South Korea
“Today I encountered my first big no-no of Korean culture… DO NOT write a persons name in red!! I realised this while trying to play a game with my students and on writing the kids’ names on the board I used a red marker. To my surprise, Candy my best student, erupted into convulsions. I exaggerate not. According to my other students I had wished death and bad luck upon her! So for future note of reference NO RED MARKERS!” – Denise Duggan
You’ve Always Got to Keep An Eye On Your Drawings in Egypt
“In the middle of describing a particular word, I once caught my students giggling at something on the board. Not unusual as my drawings aren’t usually that good… so I didn’t think anything of it at first. However as the giggling continued I became suspicious. I asked one of the older ladies in my group what was so funny and she told me I had drawn a male appendage on the board. Lovely.
And make sure you’re phone is switched off…
My students in Egypt were amazing fun, but one of the pet hates of many teachers when teaching, was mobile phones going off. The policy in the school was that they had to be on silent. On one particular occasion I had just finished ‘telling them off’ (as much as I could to adults!) and low and behold, my phone went off. Quick on my feet I of course pretended that I had done it on purpose to illustrate how annoying it was. Thankfully my students thought it was funny.” – Emma Foers
Be Wary of Chinese Kindergartens With Vases
“And what was the first thing to greet me on my first day at kindergarten? Twenty two-year-olds crapping into a vase. Standing in lines, pants down, ready for their turn to do their business into a vase held by the assistants.
So there I was, nervously waiting for them to finish so that I could crack on with my first lesson. Baby class. Ten minutes of “O is for Ox” and “P is for Pig.” Now you’d think that would go pretty quickly, fly by in fact, but you’d think wrong. It was the longest ten minutes of my life. Because after you’ve repeated those sentences three times and the children have repeated it back in their baby language you realise you have another 9 minutes 40 seconds to go. As I was frantically searching my brain for something fun to do about Ox’s and Pig’s I began to panic. And the more I panicked the more my brain shut down. “For god’s sake brain, why now!?” Silence. “Why now when twenty drooling toddlers are staring up at me expectantly?” Silence. Eventually the assistants (yep the ones with the vases – I made sure to keep my distance) decided they’d step in. They started a game whilst I stood in the background, sort of watching, sort of trying to help.” – Sophie Roberts
What about you? Share your funniest TEFL mishaps below!