Trying not to dance in Starbucks

Alright fellow gigglers! Here the deal, I’m in Starbucks (obvi) with my ipod playing in my ears and it’s Ice Cube and I can’t stop my shoulders from shimmying, or my head from bobbing. The Korean’s are starring at the white girl dancing in her seat. Is it bad that I refer to myself as “the white girl”?

On a more serious note…. I am a horrible person. A monster. Unfit to be out and about with other human beings.

Yesterday, while teaching my second class of the day, which is my largest all week (9 students) and my lowest level, I had the moment that all teachers dread: I made a little boy cry. And I feel HORRIBLE over it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in a professional teaching capacity for the last 5 years, and I have had my share of students cry (mostly from injuries sustained during gym class), but this one just punched me right in the feels.

So in this class, the students are so low in their ability to speak English that they don’t even have the knowledge to ask to go to the bathroom. For the last 5 classes, the director of the school has sat in the backrow of the class, helping and translating where needed. Now we have a nice little routine going that I think he’s trying to phase himself out. It was nice having him there, since he could give instructions and be an extra adult helping the kids with the book work. But also super intimidating, since ya know he’s my boss.

Friday was a game day so he didn’t stay in the class. Once he found out we weren’t doing book work, he left. I was expecting him today but he wasn’t even at the school when the class started.

So the crying boy: His name is a super silly one, Koreans get to pick their own English name and sometimes they can get a little carried away. Last time I had a Number 6 Big Mac Air Conditioner, we just called him Number 6. For the sake of blogging let’s just today’s boy Cody. So from day 1, Cody has been a HUGE personality in my class. He’s vibrant and funny and likes to have fun. Which is good for me because he keeps the class interesting. He is one of the highest in the class and will help the youngest ones, but even then his language acquisition is way below where it should be. But lately he’s been being very disrespectful.

When I ask him to do anything the answer is always “NO!!” Like he shouts it at me! And always when the director isn’t there. Sometimes he will quickly change his mind though. I will ask if he is ready “NOOOOO” “ok….Cody ready now?” “YES!” It started off as cute little banter. Now it’s just no for everything.

I am trying to get him to stop leaning back on his chair. Some students only do it a little but his goes all the way back. One day, especially when it’s in the middle of winter and the floor is wet, the legs are going to slip and he is going to smash his head. So I’ve been telling him “Cody, chair down”. NOOOOOOOO

Today, I asked at least 7 times in the first 10 minutes. Then I said “Cody, chair down or teacher takes chair” that seemed to work for 2 minutes. Then he kept doing it! And pinching the boy sitting beside him. I finally just picked up his book and moved him. Which I think is totally within my right to do as a teacher! I go to the board, I write Cody and put 2 checks beside. I go to him “3 checks and teacher gets chair”.

I really don’t think he understood because he kept wanting me to take away the checks. Like he was going to get into lots and lots of trouble or something. Then he was working ahead in his book. Something both the director and I have told him not to do. Today he was working on the NEXT UNIT! Like dude, calm down! We were starting some listening and repeating, so instead of asking him more times to stop, I just closed his book and took it away. Well friends that was the last straw for him.

He didn’t do the repeating, he sat turned away so that he wasn’t looking at me and spent the rest of class, around 10-15 minutes crying. At first it was just wiping tears from his face, and then it started so that you could hear the little sobs coming from him. I did the whole “ignore and continue” that I usually do. Let them have a little cry out and talk about it after. So the class did the repeating with the CD and then I set them to the final task for the day. I passed him some tissues and asked if he was ok. He said no. I asked if he was going to work. He said no. By this time the whole class knew he was crying, since his sobs were so very audible. So he just sat there and cried.

After the class ended, I walked out of my class and told the director just so that he knew. Just in case he gets a call from an angry Korean momma about her son crying at the hogwan. I explained quickly that he wasn’t listening so I moved his desk, and then he still wasn’t listening and following instructions so I took his book away. I didn’t go into details about the chair thing though. I really think the checks on the board were the tipping factor for him. He just kept focusing on it.

And like I can’t even talk to him to explain why I took his book or why I was upset with him, which obviously caused HIM to be upset. And now I just feel like the worst person IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.


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