‘Our English teacher is affectionate’

My students were learning about adjectives describing people’s personality. The main activity was matching about 20 words in a box with their respective definitions. Several students mixed up charming and sociable. One student neatly explained the difference by saying ‘Charming is about other people coming to you, and sociable is about you going to other people’. Many movie villains and their equivalents in real life are charming but not sociable. The drunk at the pub is sociable but not charming.

I then wrote on the board, ‘I am ____ and ____, You are ____ and ___, My mother is …, My father is …, etc Our English teacher is ____ and ____’ and divided the students into pairs, and they talked about those people. At the end I prompted each student to talk about one of those people. The student I prompted to talk about ‘Our English teacher’ hesitated, glanced at the worksheet and said ‘affectionate’ (possibly because it was the first on the alphabetical list). I like to think that I am affectionate, but I rarely show it, even to those it is socially acceptable for me to show affection to. I am certainly not affectionate to my students.

It could have been worse. The next word on the list was ‘aggressive’.

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