The Problem with Mr. Gunes

Jake was a 14year old boy of average build and height with the most outstanding feature about him being his long curly brown hair. While he was not overly enthusiastic about school and education in general, he showed as much dedication to school as could be hoped for from a 14 year old.

For this, his parents and teachers alike were grateful since the teenage years were the most chaotic as the students underwent phases of rebellion and identity crises. However, Jake’s relatively smooth sailing in school turned turbulent following the introduction of Mr. Gunes, the new math teacher.

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While Mr. Gunes was a capable math teacher, his communication skills were far from ideal. Mr. Gunes was from Turkey and having lived in the USA for relatively little time, his English still held a very heavy Turkish accent. This made it very difficult for most of the students in his math class to understand him.

Mr. Gunes’ dark skin, coal black hair and rather bushy eyebrows made him physically different from the other members of the school community. This accentuated by his thick Turkish accent made it hard for most students to concentrate in his class.

The incident with Jake occurred during one of Gunes’ evening math classes. Gunes was busy explaining the concept of volume to an audience of mostly distracted students. Jake in particular was busy fantasizing about how he would spend the coming weekends with a goofy smile on his face.

“Do you care to explain what is funny?” Mr. Gunes who had noted Jake’s distraction asked in his thick accent.

Jake did not get the significance of the question as a result of his absent mindedness. The teacher’s heavy accent did not help matters either and instead of funny, Jake had heard “furry”. He found the question amusing and immediately burst out laughing.

“So you think I’m funny?” asked a now visibly irate Gunes. “You tell me if you think I’m very funny!”

Jake decided to answer the question despite the absurdity of it.

“A bear is furry, I do not think you are furry” answered the slightly confused Jakes.

At this answer, the whole class burst out into laughter. Now this was not the first time that Jake had misinterpreted Mr. Gunes’ questions as a result of his accent therefore answering wrongly and causing the whole class to burst into laughter. Mr. Gunes decided that he had had enough of what he perceived to be Jake’s insolence.

“Follow me to the principal’s office right now,” demanded an angry Gunes.

Even though Jake did not catch every word that the teacher said, he got the message this time round since the teacher pointed out and stormed off in fury. At the office, the principal listened to the accusations that Gunes made against the student.

He also listened intently as Jakes explained that it was all a misunderstanding since Mr. Gunes’ accent made it especially hard for him to follow what he was saying.

While the principal sympathized with Jake, he was obligated to suspend Jake and ask him to come with his parents the following week. This was because Gunes was one of the best mathematics teachers in the district and siding with Jake would have caused Gunes to consider leaving the school since he had been bringing up the issue of Jakes making the students laugh at him many previous times.

However, the principle made a point to assure Jake that he would not get into any trouble as a result of this suspension. Jake on his part was happy to get a few days off school and the fact that he was not going to be punished for it greatly appealed to him.

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