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Are English teachers sarcastic?

Bob_Milton
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Posts: 688
Registered: 31-07-2007

Are English teachers sarcastic?

I am presently reading a book entitled 'My Trade' by Andrew Marr the BBC journalist.
In it he uses a phrase which took my attention. It was "sarcastic English teachers", meaning teachers who taught English.
My memory stirred to recollect the English master who was very successful in helping us to pass English Language and English Literature in School Certificate.
Now he was very sarcastic, ----- but he was a very good teacher.
Have any of you any recollections and thoughts about your English teaching experiences?
7 REPLIES
Moderator
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Re: Are English teachers sarcastic?

I left school with not a clue about English really - my spelling is appalling and any grammer rules I have picked up are all self taught.
As far as I'm concerned my English GCSEs are a complete waste of space.
How I went on to do A-Levels and a degree with not a clue how to structure essays etc is still a mystery to me...
Will Moderate For Thanks
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Re: Are English teachers sarcastic?

The school I went to was a "Intermediate" School..... which was supposed to be "better than a Secondary Modern"  with better qualified teachers and curriculum, but not quite up to "Grammar School" standard.  Also it was a "Dual School" which meant that there was a central hall for gym and assembly, and the classrooms were on either side (also above and below) One half of the school was Boys only, and the other was Girls only..... The girls had a choice of two other languages (apart from English) which they could learn, but us boys only had English..... During our last term, we had a sort of Question and Answer session, and one of the questions to the English Teacher was 
" Why don`t we get a chance to learn French or German, like the girls do?"
answer
"Because we have a hard enough job teaching you lot English"
I always remember that, perhaps because it was "sarcastic"!  Cheesy
johpal
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Posts: 550
Registered: 20-04-2008

Re: Are English teachers sarcastic?

My English teacher was rather dogmatic in her approach. In truth, I learned far more about grammar from my French teacher. When I went to live in Amsterdam, I had to learn Dutch. My teacher there made me question many of the 'rules' I had learnt and I came to realise that language truly is a living, constantly changing thing. Armed with my experience now, if I had to return to school, heaven help the English teacher. The student would be the sarcastic one...  Tongue
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Re: Are English teachers sarcastic?

Unfortunately I wasn't blessed with the best English teacher in my limited time at school, however I can support the thesis that some of the best teachers utilise methods a little 'off the beaten track'.
Our chemistry teacher was fabulous, although even the kindest person would describe him as unhinged! He always taught in a very memorable fashion - actually making the learning interesting by approaching topics from a variety of angles. (Sadly he's currently in prison for approaching a female student in altogether the wrong fashion.)
Our physics teacher was very sarcastic too, but he was fabulous at creating an atmosphere which encouraged all of us to think about problems and solutions in a variety of ways.
Given English is also a subject where many possible solutions could be correct, I think its imperative to create a learning environment where creativity is the norm.
Thinking laterally about problems is a skill which seems to be in regression amongst todays school leavers - a sad product of the 'tick the boxes on the curriculum' learning mentality which abounds.
Our education system needs great teachers who can get back to teaching their subject* in a way which renders the curriculum more of a yardstick and less of a modus operandii.
*Hmm, subject - not something I mean rigidly: If lessons are more conversational it naturally follows that sometimes examples and illustrations may be outside the traditional reach of a particular subject - this shouldn't mean it should be reined in and brought back to subject in hand, instead it should be an illustration that *everything* is a life skill, and as such has an affect on many aspects of life in the 'Real World'TM
We do future generations a real disservice in many things - surely education should be an easy one to fix. (Just need to sort lazy parenting out thenWink)
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Re: Are English teachers sarcastic?

My GCSE English teacher was in no way sarcastic whatsoever - he was simply a very kind gentleman. Having said that, I don't feel I learnt much of use during my English GCSE, but I think that's more the curriculum's fault: it relied as much on having a good imagination for writing stories etc. as it did on 'technical' spelling/grammar knowledge.
On the other hand, my Russian teacher was a completely different kettle of fish, and was very sarcastic. But, aside from being a little bit scary at times, it also brought humour to the classroom, and he was always quick to tell people they'd done well too if they had done so. He was also quite 'soft' if students were experiencing problems; the sarcasm etc. was really just an (effective) classroom act to 'charge' the class a bit. It was his teaching that made me want to continue my Russian education beyond secondary school - alas, something I ended up not doing, but I do hope to revisit Russian one day in the future.
pierre_pierre
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Are English teachers sarcastic?

Dont know what this English teacher was up to http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7450552.stm
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Re: Are English teachers sarcastic?

My English teacher for GCE was also the Headmaster and he was very firm but fair.
He made us improve our spelling and grammar by setting an essay for homework each Friday (four sides minimum) and more than 4 spelling or grammar mistakes meant you had to rewrite it. However several years later I read through some of them and found that he was more forgiving than we thought at the time as he didn't mark as incorrect a number of the errors if he considered that you had tried and achieved a reasonable standard.
However we had two maths teachers who were real characters in different ways. One had served in the First World War as an artillery rangefinder/spotter where they used mathematics to correctly target the guns and he would often regale us with tales of that time. We all knew that there were a few trigger questions which would set him off and stop the lesson for 15 minutes. He was actually head of maths in the school.
The other one was totally different - a bit of a martinet but very kind - he was also my form master when I started at grammar school and he was known to everyone (including himself) as Little Bill and when he used to enter the classroom on a morning for registration we all had to stand up and chant "I-S-O-S-C-E-L-E-S Isosceles" then sit down - yes I can still spell it. In terms of teaching he was far better than any of the other teachers in getting good results from the pupils regardless of their ability.