Profesora?

Last week I taught a two classes at Waikato University. Nelson has taken on two sections of Intro to Environmental Education, a course required for all first year teachers (how cool is that?). I am wondering how Nelson transitioned into the role of university professor so smoothly. Just being a guest lecturer made me feel about 20 years older and caused me to have a night of binge drinking to reclaim my youth (It didn’t work, by the way).

It feels like just the other day when I was the one not paying attention in class, and here I was getting annoyed by the girl who was obviously IM-ing through my very carefully thought out lecture. (When asked, she said she was emailing an assignment to her work partner. Um, hello… Do I look like I’m in the market for BS? I was born after 1970… I know that 95 keystrokes per minute consistently for an hour is either a fantastic game of naughty tetris or an IM. Go sell that story to your other teacher.) Perhaps Nelson’s had a few more years than me to practice being mature.

Overall the classes went really well. Nelson brought me in to teach the class on “Intercultural Perspectives on the Envrionment”. I took my favorite teaching position, sitting on a desk at the front of the room facing the class. I did some great interactive activities, had the students discuss the reading, and spent a lot of time talking about intercultural sensitivity. All was fine until the end of the second lecture. Two very nice girls approached me and said “We think what you had to say was great, but you should know that sitting on a table is very taboo in the Maori culture”. UGH!

OK, so sitting on a table is taboo. This has to do with Maori people feeling very strongly that your poo end should not be anywhere near food. Fair enough. My bad. But eating in a classroom is also taboo. So, shouldn’t sitting on a classroom table be only half -offensive at most? I’ll tell myself yes to make me feel better.