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Hello Awful Day!

October 20, 2010

Not every day can be spectacular. Most are ok and some are great or uneventful. Where do bad days comes from? Sometimes my voice gives out or I’m sick – I’d say that account for 20% of all bad days. Last year, I think I had a different cold every week for about 5 months but I guess at some point I got used to it and it’s not even complaint worthy any more.

Where does the 80% come from? Missing co-teachers. Even as prideful as I can be sometimes, I know what my major weaknesses are and when to ask for help. Without the Korean teacher in the room, I have an extremely difficult time controlling the classroom: students move their seats, “forget” their textbooks, cheat, chat, and do whatever they feel they can get away with. Is it because I just let them run wild? No. I know for a fact that me not speaking Korean has something to do with it – the advanced level students rarely persist in giving me trouble because they understand me when I tell them to be good so we can finish the lesson and play a game. Lower level classes can’t understand when I try to bargain so it means nothing to them.

So, what this really means is that I can’t be mad at the students – had they their teacher, things would be different and everything would be just peachy. So…what this really means is that I have to be mad with the teacher for being fully aware of the problems their absence causes and still not being there for their students who really need and want the discipline.  I’ve told every teacher how important it is that they simply stay in the classroom while I’m teaching. Some teachers just sit in the back while others get involved and help the students with their lesson (you can guess which I prefer) but really just being there makes all the difference.

Moving on to the incident..Yesterday, one of my classes nearly had me lose my mind at their crazy shenanigans that included playing on cell phones, eating, not having any materials, throwing trash, and one student even tried climbing out the window to retrieve a notebook he had thrown there. Misbehaving students aren’t nearly so bad when they’re all misbehaving however about six students were trying so hard to learn and move up to the advanced level class that it broke my heart to not be able to help them get there.

That’s when I lost it.

I sent chief offenders out of the class and took the names of the students who completed the lesson. I also got the names of the most disrespectful students with the intention of taking points from their Speaking grades (this list ultimately made it to the principal and disciplinary department). Toward the end of the class, I brought all the students in the classroom and waited for the bell to ring – that’s when the student tried to climb out the window. I grabbed him and took him to the admin office, waiting for the missing co teacher to show up and talk to him about personal safety.

After hearing the anger quaking in my voice as I recounted the 40 minutes of hell, the administration disciplinary hammer fell on the 7 students whose names I took so hard that I couldn’t even take any pleasure in it. Parents were called, lectures distributed, corporeal punishment laid down, and, at the end, I received something like four apologies per student. The fact that they couldn’t even apologize in English made me feel sorry for them, and it’s especially telling that I had to tell on them to get anything done about their behavior.

Now I’m annoyed. Annoyed that I have to teach the lesson again next week. Annoyed that I have to make the class write lines and letters promising their good behavior. Annoyed at how difficult it is to command the respect of the students. Annoyed at being annoyed.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Cheree permalink
    October 22, 2010 12:21 am

    I always wondered how you dealt so well with adolescents without drama. middle school kids are a fearsome bunch. Sorry you had an annoyingly , awful day!

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