Anecdotes 2: Do Not Disturb

Background: My first-year students are doing a lesson on imperative commands. My team teacher and I demonstrate the idea (“Stand up. Go to the door. Write your name on the blackboard. Jump three times!”) Then we give students a worksheet so they could create their own commands. The plan is that they will later use these commands in a pair game.

I spend a good chunk of time walking around the classroom, encouraging the students not to copy the examples word-for-word from the blackboard. (“Have fun with this! Be creative! Make your friends sing “happy birthday” or something!” I plead to students who keep writing, “Go to the window. Sit down.”)

Then I come across a boy who has given up.

He can’t handle English right now. He’s bored, or he’s tired. Whatever it is, he’s done. His head is down on his desk, his eyes closed.

I’m about to attempt to wake him when I notice his worksheet, half-visible from underneath his head.

The first line of the worksheet is filled out — big letters, bold imperative: “Don’t disturb sleep.”

It was the most creative command I had seen all day, so I chuckled and left him alone.


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