Things Were “Tense” Last Night

When I reviewed what I had to teach last night, I groaned. It was one of the most boring classes my students will have all semester. The chapter we were covering was all about Tense–Present tense, Past tense. Past participle. Past Perfect. Present Prefect–Egads!  If you’ve been out of school for a while, these are terms you surly were glad to forget.

I wasn’t surprised when my students were glazed over by the time I drew the timeline on the board trying to illustrate that all of these terms were simply the way we order TIME in our English language. They weren’t convinced this information was necessary and soon I had a raving case of boredom spreading throughout the student ranks. Those who weren’t bored were confused. It happens every time I teach this chapter. Even I wish we could skip it!

I explained that the terms were more difficult than the concept. I even said that I was just as frustrated trying to teach them about the different tenses as they were listening to me drone on about them. Usually that comment brings a giggle, but not tonight. They were stoic. They were deer in the headlights. Zombies staring. I had lost them to another time-space continuum.

Being realistic, I know the topic is dry. But that was only part of the problem. We’ve come to a time of the year when people get sick. Half of the class were suffering with colds their children had brought home from school. I mean miserably sick — coughing, sneezing, blowing. I felt like I would have been more helpful had I been a nurse than a teacher. The only reason these students were in class was to take the test they missed last week because they were sicker then. And here I was talking about something called “tense.”

I’m chalking up this miserable experience to the weather. With steady north winds blowing, temperatures dropping and leaves falling, we are all mourning the loss of  blistering summer and fearing the bluster of winter. Okay. That makes sense.

AND we shall overcome “through sickness and in health–Till tenses we do part.”

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