Friday, May 13, 2016

English teacher. Nice to meetcha. Blog post #8: What the heck just happened? by Shannon Norman

What the heck just happened? Shannon Norman

When the unexpected hits you it tends to leave you quite surprised, doesn’t it? Whether you like surprises or not, you can’t really run away from them. Granted, some surprises are definitely better than others. There are those which cause heartache, frustration even rage. And then there are those which keep you smiling, laughing and reminiscing days, weeks and even months after the fact. Regardless, it’s important to realise that a surprise keeps you on your toes and reminds you that life is meant to be celebrated whether you’re the centre of attention or not. I discovered this not too long ago when I came face to face with my surprise…

Setting the scene

It was a Monday evening when I received a text message from Naureen, TKW’s Office Manager and Student Liaison. Her message was simple. She asked if we could go for dinner the following evening.  In fact, she wanted to speak to me about something serious and naturally I said that I would be all ears. I felt quite pleased to be the person that she wanted to confide in.

The next day was quite busy here at TKW and I never thought about the dinner until much later in the afternoon when I asked Naureen if our ‘date’ was still on.To be honest, I was just dying to get more details out of her, but I managed not to ask too many questions.  

Lights, camera, ACTION!

“Timbuktu,” I said out loud as we approached the entrance of the restaurant. “This seems interesting,” I said excitedly, pointing at one of the quaint ornaments in the walkway.  

“Could we have a table for two, please”, Naureen asked. Despite the very specific request, we got quite a large table with a ‘reserved’ sign on it, which the waiter removed after we sat down. I thought it a little  strange, but didn’t dwell on it for longer than a couple of seconds. We spent the next few moments admiring the unique, cosy environment, filled with African masks and sculptures. I knew I was in for a treat. I later learned  that it was an authentic Ethiopian restaurant, a first for me.

Naureen gestured for the my complete  surprise, a group of TEFL graduates appeared before my eyes and not the waiter I was expecting to see. They had graduated a week before, so I was taken aback when I saw them approaching our table. There was Jayd with guitar in hand, Harry with a bunch of flowers, followed by David and Tylan. I still had no idea what was going on. I was about to tell Naureen that her boyfriend, Harry, was about to propose because that’s honestly what it looked like. But before I could get a word out, the bunch of exquisite flowers was neatly placed in front of me and the group of TEFLers broke out in song:

“We thank you, Shannon, you gave us confidence
We admire you, Shannon, you are exceptional
We admire you, Shannon, you are remarkable
We admire you, Shannon, you are irreplaceable
We thank you, Shannon, cos you believed in us
We love you, Shannon, you made it look effortless.”

Listen to the song on soundcloud!

April TEFLers singing their original composition, Thank you, Shannon.

I couldn’t believe what was happening. “All of this for me?” Jayd strummed her guitar and everyone sang to the tune, which I thought was one helluva cool tune. It was obvious that they had all made an effort to learn the song in order to pull off such a fantastic surprise.

There were a number of emotions coursing through me. I couldn’t decide whether to cry tears of joy, laugh and enjoy the moment, or bury my face in my hands.

You see, I don’t deal well with compliments. I had difficulty accepting that they appreciated my mentorship and my teaching. I mean, they were literally singing my praises, yet I couldn’t give myself a pat on the back. It was only later that I began to accept that it’s absolutely okay to feel special and regard yourself as a good teacher when moments call for it. It's important to recognise your hard work and celebrate your successes, and truly feel proud of yourself. This industry is not for lazy folk – you must be prepared to go the extra mile. And trust me, when you do, it feels good, especially when you get recognition for it!

So, to wrap up, we had an excellent evening! I asked how they managed to pull it off. It turned out that they had discussed it after their practical training. Harry organised with Naureen to get me to Timbuktu. In the meanwhile, they had composed a song, bought flowers, and a card in which they wrote special messages... Apparently I was 'very easy to work with'!

A big thank you to ALL the guys on the April TEFL course. You rocked my socks off and I will never (ever) forget the lengths to which you went to make me feel appreciated.

A very surprised and happy Shannon with
flowers and card from her April TEFL group.

No comments:

Post a Comment