Have you ever felt embarrassed because you realized a little too late that a choice you made was inappropriate? The feeling is not great in our personal lives, but when that happens professionally, it feels even worse.
This happened to me in a class with a student recently. The sole intent of the lesson was to introduce our new topic: dining out and restaurant language. I chose a very popular unit, one I had used before with other students and was very fun to work with. It starts teaching vocabulary about dating and leads us to the following discussion:
Discuss your opinion on the topics below about dating. Explain whether you AGREE or DISAGREE with each statement and why:
- It’s rude to take food from the plate or dish of the person you’re on a date with.
- The man should pay the bill when out to eat on a first date with a woman.
The moment I asked my student to read the second sentence it hit me: the embarrassment. He read it, said he could not give an opinion about that because he had never taken a woman out on a date and asked me: “When do you think people will start thinking about other sexual orientations when preparing materials for English students?”. I told him that some people have started doing that. I reminded him about some Raise Up! lessons we had studied together and what an amazing project it is. When I apologized for my choice, he immediately said “No, teacher, it wasn’t your fault”, but I knew it was. It was my fault for not being critical enough and for taking things for granted, after all, I had used the lesson with straight men and women. We all know that the one-size-fits-all is a fallacy and we, as teachers, should pay closer attention to these details when choosing a lesson for our students. This is how change starts: when we start identifying the problems, we can talk about them and come up with better solutions.
Then, I asked him to help me improve the statement. What we came up with was: The person who invites the other one out on a first date should pay the bill.
Have you ever been through a similar situation? How did you deal with it? Share your thoughts and ideas here.