m a r k a n d e y a

Archive for March 25th, 2007

Strangest classroom experience ever…

Posted by Brian on March 25, 2007

Today in class, I went through the strangest experience I’ve ever had in a classroom.

Towards the last 5 minutes of a low level class, one of my male students asked if he could have a few minutes to address the class. Figuring it was some sort of school project, such as a survey or presentation, I said sure and gave him the floor. To my surprise, he stood up and went to the front of the classroom, pulled out a piece of paper, and shifted his position so he was facing one female student. He then began reading from his prepared notes.

“Sunmi, it’s been 2 months since we started studying together. I’ve learned how special you are and I think I love you.”

He then went on for a few more minutes with some mildly poetic musings on her kindness, generosity, and beauty, closing with one more “I love you.”. Once he made it through his notes, he broke into Joe Cocker’s You are so Beautiful to Me, then into a Korean ballad that I didn’t recognize.

It’s important to note at this point that I never noticed anything special about these two students when they were together, and that they were *not* a couple prior to this confession. It came completely out of left field.

Sure, it sounds somewhat romantic, perhaps like something you might see on a Korean drama. But it was really weird and very uncomfortable for those of caught in the middle of this gushing display of professed love. When he first started his routine, we thought it was some silly gag, so a few of us chuckled. Then, when we realized he was deadly serious, the other students put their heads down and stared at their desks. Meanwhile, I tried to say calm and respectful while sitting behind the student. The female target, poor girl, was obviously embarrassed beyond belief; I’m surprised she didn’t up and flee the classroom in panic. But she sat there as best she could and made it to the end.

He finished his confession of love at the 50 minute mark, bringing the class to a finish. Still stunned, all I could do was ask if there were any questions. No hands were raised so I fled the classroom as quickly as possible in order to avoid the fireworks that I assumed were about to break out.

Unfortunately, while the guy obviously has balls of steel and a romantic streak in him a mile wide, I can’t help but feel he was way out of line doing what he did. He put the girl and the rest of us in a very difficult position and no doubt has successfully created a very awkward classroom environment for the rest of the week. That’s assuming everyone shows up, of course, which I seriously doubt at this point. If the girl says “no,” will she want to be partnered up with this guy for an activity, and vice-versa? Will the other students want to be caught in the middle again? I might be more lenient if he had done it on the last day of class, which would have made it easier for everyone to say goodbye without a lot of hurt feelings. But as it is now, I have 4 more days of class to go through with these kids.

My supervisor agrees  that I should have stepped in as the teacher and put a stop to it before it got out of hand. I think he might be right, so I plan on talking to the girl tomorrow (assuming she’s there) to make sure she’s OK and maybe offer an apology for letting it happen. And if she’s not there, I just might call her.

I’ll try to update this post tomorrow after I hear how it developed after I left.

BTW, how would you have handled it?

Update: Well, I just finished that class and, to my surprise, both the pursuer and pursued showed up. Things were very awkward in class so I abandoned my lesson plan halfway through and went to game mode. We played one fo my favorites, the Category Game.

I spoke with the girl after class privately and told her that I was just as shocked as she was and that I was sorry I let her get put on the spot like that. She said she was OK, but that she didn’t like the guy that way so she had turn him down. Ouch!

One commentator below said that I should have asked the guy what he wanted to talk about before giving him the floor. This is an excellent bit of advice and something I will be sure to do next time.

Posted in Personal | 7 Comments »