The purpose of Sedaris’ essay is to reflect on how teachers can change a student’s life inside and outside the classroom. In this essay the teacher is rude, embarrassing, and shows little or no respect to her students. The teacher never takes the emotional state of her students into consideration. “We soon learned to dodge chalk and protect our heads and stomachs whenever she approached us with a question.” (159) Sedaris’ essay is in chronological order. The essay begins as Sedaris’ character returns to school at the age of 41. He enters a French class with no understanding of the French language other than what he learned while in New York. “The teacher licked her lips, revealing a hint of the saucebox we would later come to know. She crouched low for her attack, placed her hands on the young woman’s desk, and leaned close, saying, “Oh yeah? And do you love your little war?” (158) While the students introduce themselves, the teacher embarrasses each one individually. “Were you always this palicmkrexis?” she asked. “Even a fiuscrzsa ticiwelmun knows that a typewriter is feminine.” (159) When the story reaches an end, he is able to communicate in the French dialogue and understand as the teacher expresses her concerns of anger and disgust to the classroom. “…I could understand every word that someone was saying.” (160) A teacher should have enthusiasm, empathy, and kindness within their teachings to encourage students to participate and learn. If a teacher shows these qualities it represents the care the teacher has for the student to succeed in life. These three qualities are important because they also extend outside the classroom setting and into the social life of the students.
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