History Lesson



Read the text.



Some years ago, young people in the USA didnt want to be teachers because of poor pay and even less respect. Government and the public openly questioned teachers competency. Kids in school were angry, even violent. Lots of school teachers quit the profession within the first year.

Many of these problems remain now. But nevertheless, there are some changes. Teaching is back. Salaries now are decent or better in most places. Teachers say they feel more respect. Why is it so?

Today, education is a top priority in the USA. In the 1980s, people wanted to go into professions to make money. In the 90s, they are seeing to return to other values. People want to do something to make a difference in society. Teachers can do that. More and more young people enter teachers colleges. They say, If we can change a persons life for the better, our lives will be complete.  These days not only young people but also their grandparents are looking for a new life after retiring and want to be at school. These people are called career-switches.  They are retired Military personnel, police officers, people who were selling insurance all their lives and other people who want to change their job. Of course, they are taught special education programs before going to school to instruct children.

Is it an easy job to be a teacher? Well... Firstly, teachers are supposed not only to teach just subject matter. They have to reach students hearts, to take a real interest in all their students. A caring attitude is perhaps the most important quality a teacher can possess. It is also important to give information, to develop an interest in learning and to encourage students. Positive expectation for what the kids can do is very important too.  Communication between the home and the school can really help a teacher to understand the students better. Secondly, new teachers spend much time on discipline problems. For some teachers the first weeks are just horrible! But kids need someone to guide them. Now in the USA there are about 150 programs that help young people and career-switches to become certified teachers.


Ex.1. Do you know all the underlined words and phrases?

             If not, make your own vocabulary. Use these new words in your own sentences.


Ex.2. This text above tells you how to be a teacher in the USA. What about your country?


         1. Is the profession of a teacher popular? Why is it so?

         2. This profession is underpaid, isnt it?

         3. Do many teachers working at your school quit within a year?

         4. Is education a top priority in your country?

         5. Are there many high school students interested in teaching?

         6. Do you agree that only idealists think they can change a persons life for the better?

         7. Are there career-switches in your country?

         8. Are you sure that they can make a difference in your society?

         9. Is teaching a difficult job?

       10. What is the most difficult problem for the teachers working at your school?

- to keep discipline

- to be the teacher whose lessons you are eager to attend

- to teach smart students

- to be good friends with the students

- to have 6 or more lessons every day six days a week

- to encourage the students

- to communicate between the home and the school

- to reach the students hearts

- no problem

       11. Would you like to be a teacher? Whatever your answer is share your thoughts with your classmates, please.




Ex.3. How well do you know your teacher?

Make your predictions about the subjects below. When everyone in class has finished predicting, ask your teacher to share her (his) answers. Who was the best predictor?



Pets (animals)


Vacation sport




Singing group



Movie(of all time)

TV series*


Kind of car

Kind of music

Subject in school

Things to do at






*TV series - , . (movie). , show TV series.


Read this text and discuss the problem. Some questions below will help you.

Teachers of Iowa say violent behavior of students and disrespect are widespread in Iowa (USA) classrooms. They also say that parents should take a bigger role in preventing students antisocial actions. This problem was discussed at a school-violence conference on May 10, 2000 in Des Moines. To overcome this situation, teachers need more parents to be involved. Also, teachers say that the key is finding the root of behavior rather than simply punishing students. More than half of the youths arrested in Des Moines in 1998 tested positive for drugs or alcohol.  Iowas drug treatment facilities for youths have massive waiting list.

Children should talk to their parents about being bullied* or wanting to harm others at school. Unfortunately, such communication rarely happens. Some students say they would be ashamed. Others say their parents dont want to admit their children need help.

In Des Moines there are some programs for at-risk youths, which help turn their lives around. The problem has been raised and stressed which is very important and which is a good start. Dont be complacent** that it cant happen in your city or your school. Its a mistake. Be involved in preventing the problem. And help your parents to be involved.


Do you have difficulties at school?

-Does this problem of student violent behavior exist at your school?

-You feel comfortable at your school, dont you? If not, can you share why?

-Are you often bullied by your mates or just other students?

-Do you think that your teachers are picking on you?

-You dont even think about offending your classmates or those who are younger than you are, do you?

-You tell your parents about your problems, dont you?

-Do you discuss the school rules with your parents?

-Your parents get an idea of what is going on at your school, dont they?

(The dates of school vacations, school holidays, parent-teacher conferences)

-Do your parents attend open hours, which are held every month at your school?


* to bully - , ;

** complacent - , ;


Ex.4. Analyzing Education. (Work in your exercise books)

At school, you not only learn different subjects but social behavior as well. Along with your family, schools teach societys values, norms, and roles.

Think about your own school. In the left column below, list values that you think your school teaches you both directly and indirectly. (Values are beliefs about what is important and good. For example, freedom, hard work, obedience, independence...)

In the middle column, list the norms of behavior at your school. (Norms are rules that govern behavior. For example, a formal list of rules about appropriate and expected behavior in classroom.)

In the right column, list the roles found at your school. (Roles are behaviors expected of persons who occupy particular positions. For example, teachers, students, coach, principal, nurses, chef...)






Time for fun.

In America, kids like to make up stories about their teachers and principals.

Read and enjoy these two stories.


The Gym Teacher from Black Lagoon.

We are getting a new gym teacher this year. His name is Mr. Green! The kids say hes big, hes mean, hes rarely seen. They say hes very hairy. His nickname is COACHKONG and no one has actually heard him speak any words. He just blows his whistle a lot. They say he has a little office full of balls and clubs and tires. The big kids say he makes you run a lot. First a lap around the gym. Then a lap around the school. Then a lap around the world! Then he gives you fitness tests. You have to pickup truck over your head before the semester ends. I guess thats why they call it a pickup truck.

You spend a lot of time getting in shape. He makes you do push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups. But most of the kids just do thrown-ups!

Then you have to climb the rope. If you dont reach the top, he sets the bottom on fire! They say there are still kids up in the ceiling of the gym! If you dont pass the fitness test, your body is donated to science!

Then there is the posture test. If you dont pass that, he ties you between two boards. But there are games too. He makes you play Dodge ball... with his truck. And Tag with Crazy Glue... And baseball with real bats! He makes you do handstands, headstands, and nosestands.

Oh, oh, theres his whistle! Id rather go line up.

 Hi, kids. Im Mr. Green, your new gym teacher. I cant believe it! Hes a regular guy!

 Lets play basketball, says Mr. Green.  We do, and I score 2 baskets. This is great! Im going to like gym!


The Principal from Black Lagoon.

Its the third day of school. Ive been sent to the principals office. What a bummer!*

I hear the Principal, Mrs. Green, is a real monster! Kids go to her office and never come back. The waiting room is supposed to be filled with bones and skeletons. Doris Foodle was sent there for chewing gum. They say her skeleton still has a bubble in its mouth!

I walk in. I take a seat. The rug is red. Thats the blood wont show. I hear she uses tall kids as coat racks. The short kids she feeds for her pet alligator. The fat ones she uses as paperweight. The thin ones she uses as bookmarks. Im too young to be a bookmark! If you are lucky, you get put in the cages. She has them under her desk. If you are really lucky, you get sent home in chains. But most kids she keeps for her experiments. Derek Bloom was sent here yesterday. They say he wound up with the head of a dog! They say Freddy Smith has the feet of a chicken. And Eric Porter the hands of a hamster. I am too good-looking to have the ears of a rabbit!

And what I did was I snatched Mrs. Jones wig.

Its very quiet today. Usually, they say, theres a lot of screaming. Maybe she is in a good mood... Even if I survive, this will affect my whole life! Oh, oh, theres a shadow at the glass. Now Im in the jaws of fate. The door slowly opens...

There is a pretty woman standing there.

She is a master of disguise.

Come in, Hubie. I go in. She closes the door behind me. I look around. There is only the coat rack. It doesnt look like anyone I know. I look around for the alligator. Theres only a turtle. It looks like Randy Potts.

 Now, says Mrs. Green, Are we having a little trouble in class?

Well, say I, I was sweeping up the room and by accident Mrs. Joness wig got caught the broom handle.

Well, well have to apologize, wont we?

Yes, we will.

And next time we have to be more careful.

Yes, we will! Yes, we will!

Now run along.

Is that all???

Close the door.

Boy was I lucky!

Those flowers on her desk were probably poisonous. Just one whiff and you would turn purple and die. Fortunately I held my breath. I went into her cave and I have returned without the ears of a rabbit! I have to sweep her office sometime and see if she wears a wig!


*bummer - an unpleasant or disappointing event or situation (slang)

(By Mike Thaller. Scholastic. New York, 1994)


Lets discuss this very important issue: how to select the right clothes to wear.

Read what some students and the author think about this, and then say what you think.


What Do You Think of Dress Codes for School?

1. I thought that was something that died 20 ears ago. And I thought everybody knew by now that its what inside a person that counts, not how hes dressed. Our school recently adopted a dress code. I was sure they couldnt be serious - just something to appease parents and the school board. So I ignored it, of course. The upshot was that when I came to school as usual in my fatigues and T-shirt I was thrown out of class! Can you imagine? In this day and age!!!

2. I like to present a good appearance. So I spend a lot of time in the morning on make up, and dress up. I wear designer dresses and use jewelry for accent purposes. The other day I chose a set of bracelets to highlight a new outfit. My teacher told me to get rid of the awful clank, and while I was at it to wash my face. I was never so mortified! They want you to dress nicely for school, and when you do thats what you get.

3. I earn pretty good money after school, so I can buy a lot of my own clothes. What I buy is the latest. I mean up-to-the minute. I watch mens fashions in the magazines and newspapers, and Im always the first in school to wear whats hot in the largest cities of my country and abroad. And what do I get for my trouble? Ridicule! Not just other kids make fun of my clothes, but teachers too! They are worse than the kids are. I suppose its because they grew up in the 50s and 60s when anything went. Do they want me to dress like a slob in old fatigues and a greasy T-shirt?


Do you want to know the authors opinion? Here it is.

Selecting the right clothes to wear isnt easy. It is to be learned just as you learn most other things. And thats one of the reasons behind dress codes at school - to help teach you what is appropriate in your work place. Very often people try to defend themselves in order to excuse inappropriate way of dressing. They usually say:

It doesnt matter how you dress...

I dress to be comfortable...

You cant tell a book by its cover...

I dare to be different...  and so on.

The word appropriate is a key word for choosing an outfit. You wouldnt crawl under the car in a good sweater and slacks, and you shouldnt wear greasy fatigues to school. Clanking bracelets and dramatic makeup may work well at a party, but they are not good for the work place - school, that is.

And one more. Most fashion fads that work well and make splash in big cities never make it in the rest of the country.

Clean, neat, appropriate. Those are the buzz words for the successful dressing. If your outfit is all of these, youll rarely have to worry about dress codes, or about what other people think.


Ex.1. Be sure that you know all the underlined words in the text above:

ode - a set of rules;

to ridicule - to make fun of smth. or smb.; to humiliate;

to appease - to calm;

slob (sl.) - an awkward, clumsy man;

school board - school council;

greasy - oily

upshot - result;

appropriate - suitable;

fatigues - military trousers;

outfit - set of clothes;

clank - sharp metallic sound;

fad - craze;

to mortify - to put to shame, to embarrass

buzz word - popular word or phrase


Ex.2.Answer the questions.

1. What do you think of having a dress code at school?

       Is it good or bad to have a dress code at school?

       Do you have a dress code at your school?

2. Do you agree that selecting the right clothes is to be learned?

3. What are your favorite school clothes?

4. Who teaches you to select the right clothes to wear to school, to parties, to go camping and so on?

5. Where do you buy your clothes?

6. Are your clothes expensive or cheap?

7. It is easy to find decent clothes that fit you, isnt it?

8. Do you think it is a good idea to have clothes that do not need ironing?

9. Why do many kids and adults like clothing with pockets?

What about you?