Shark Week

As those of you who know me can attest to, my top ten movie list would probably be made up of a rather eclectic selection. It would have the classic (The Breakfast Club), the rom-com (Love Actually), the sort-of-action / historical fiction flick (The Mask of Zorro), the movie that probably shouldn’t be there (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), the technology-is-a-danger-in-the-hands-of-humans movie (Jurassic Park) … and the list goes on. It would also probably have Jaws. I am, seemingly like the rest of America, totally interested in sharks, and therefore, Shark Week.

Today I decided to teach my students about Shark Week. They were a group of three advanced students who always have something to say so I presented them first with a clip from Jaws (ovvi) and then we read an article from the “Save the Sharks” movement, written by someone from the Vancouver Aquarium. I wanted them to see the contrast between the classic, stereotypical, Hollywood shark that we blew up just for fun and the new, sharks are almost extinct, image.

A good debate ensued about whether or not we should be saving the sharks, especially when I presented them with the question of: “what if sharks were attacking people off the beaches of Alghero?” The details of the lesson aren’t really important, but the outcome is. First of all, they found it highly entertaining that we have a whole week dedicated to sharks – literally, 24/7 coverage. They found it even more entertaining that I was so into it. One student asked me if I was actually sad that I missed Shark Week (I guess I am a good actor, because he thought I was joking). I wasn’t really because I actually love watching those crazy-insane people dive down with great whites, as well as the complimentary made-for-tv Jaws remakes that are totally ridiculous. Anyway, I had a great time with my students and walked away from the lesson seriously happy to be here right now.

It was the first almost “very competent” I had scored (I say this because the circle encompassed both “competent” and “very competent”), and the students’ enthusiasm was only reinforced by my observer’s comment that I had a very good lesson. Over the past week and into the beginning of this one, I have started to love teaching. I especially love teaching English because you see the students improving every single day, no matter what. There is always something new to learn and they are eager to do so.

So today I thank Shark Week. Thanks for getting me my first “almost very competent.” And thanks for letting me walk away happy and confident about being where I am right now.

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