For most teachers across the nation, school begins this week. My classes begin tomorrow, and although I am ecstatic about meeting my new students, I also know that to survive, I have to arm myself with a very good sense of humor. You never know what’s going to come out of students’ mouths, and a lack of humor will certainly lead to a rabid breakdown in the teacher’s room. So. Since it’s generally a terrible idea to drink on the job, I’ve modified my list of likely ESL first-week moments to include coffee, which we all know serves as both an emotional and physical support for teachers worldwide. So here goes. Get your Keurig ready, and let the classes begin…

A student plagiarizes=Steal the student’s coffee and drink it in front of him. Tell him that in your culture, coffee is common property.

A student sasses you= A shot of espresso to imbue you with the necessary comeback skills. No more George Constanza reaction time for you.

A student calls you by the wrong gender=

Women: a tall nonfat pumpkin spice latte with a dash of cinnamon, no whip

Men=black coffee that you roasted with your own hipster machine (you know, the one you like to bring into every conversation).

A student makes you cry=5 scoops of espresso chip ice cream, no questions asked.

A student makes a funny mistake and you handle it gracefully= A pour-over, because you are just so dang smooth.

A student makes a funny mistake and you burst into laughter=Make the coffee extra hot; scald your tongue as an act of penance.

Your student criticizes your teaching style=Make the student run to the cafeteria and buy you a coffee. How’s that for kinesthetic learning?

A student asks about your marital status= A cup of joe in a “World’s Greatest Mom” mug.

A student thanks you for the class=No coffee needed, the kind words will be enough of an adrenaline shot to get you through at least the rest of the day :).

Happy first week of classes!