See you next time!

Pace Oddity

If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?

This is a great topic for a Friday morning! Especially considering, after a little thought, I have decided that I would most definitely speed up time. Specifically with one of my classes that I teach Monday/Wednesday/Friday.

There has been a surge of articles written lately (or maybe I’m just noticing them all right now?) on the subject of students bullying teachers. I have to admit that I’ve seen this both in my job as a supply teacher in Canada, and as well as a hogwan teacher here in S. Korea. It’s something that I see getting worse, and personally, there is really nothing I can do about it in my situation.

The class I’m writing about today, I definitely feel a little bullied by the students. I know when they are talking about me, but since it’s in Korean I don’t understand it. And I can’t tell them to stop because they don’t understand me. Which, honestly, they should be able to do at their age and level of study.

I would most definitely speed up time for this one class. They see their Korean teacher first, and then come to my class after. I feel like my class is just a social stop for them until they get to go home. They have a 5 minute break where they play cell phone games, and when the bell rings, it takes about another 5 minutes for me to get them off their cell phones. We do a round of high/low and then try to get started into our lesson. At no point during my 45 minutes with them is there ever not a student talking.

Particularly, there are 2 that cause the most problems. J and D.

Now J is just that kid who you know is going to grow up to be a jerk. He teases the other students, he calls one girl “alien” instead of her real English name and then got all the other boys in the class to start doing it, we will play 1,2,3 (a game where you count up to 10) and he will control everyone else’s answers so that he knows exactly who is going to say “10” and thus be out – usually resulting in him winning. When “Alien” first started, she didn’t play along with his little scheme. 3 games in a row she got him out within the first 2 rounds, and on the 3rd time he FLIPPED OUT. Like slammed the desk, kicked his chair back, threw a hissy fit tantrum. Now he starts apologizing for his behaviour after I’ve scolded him a few times (like for talking while I’m trying to explain something). “ok, sorry teacher!” “ok very very very very sorry teacher!!” and then right back into the behaviour again.

D is the other one. Now D isn’t like J where he has to be loud and obnoxious. D just doesn’t care. He doesn’t want to be there. We do listening exercises, he will just scribble a line across the page, we do comprehension questions, he will guess or just write down answers after. On Wednesday, he didn’t listen to a single thing I said the entire class – deciding instead to play with a deck of cards he had brought and talk to the boy beside him.

There are a few disciplinary measures in place in the school, but for an English teacher I really only have one at my disposal – money. They school has printed up mini, fake American bills. $1, $5, $10. The students collect these and twice a year they get to buy from a little school store. So I try to be generous with them, but if a student is misbehaving, I can take them away also. J doesn’t even care about the money. He has no problem handing it over (after a little song and dance to draw attention of course). D will just laugh at me and say he doesn’t have any and then slap my extended hand in a “low five” type of way. This eats up about 5 solid minutes of the class since I don’t walk away until I have the dollar in my hand. Other than that, the only thing I can do is talk to the Korean teacher and the director and they say they will talk to the class. That usually works for 1-2 classes and then back to normal.

My favourite part of that class is saying “See you next time!” as they all run out the door. D wouldn’t even push in his chair last time, I tried to catch him but he literally busted out of my arm and ran out. I feel so utterly defeated after they leave. Thankfully, the class right after is a great one, so it boosts my spirits right back up!

If there is anyone out there who can actually speed up time, let me know! I have the class from 5-5:45 tonight about would LOVE for it to go as fast as possible.

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10 thoughts on “See you next time!

  1. The good news is the child will grow up, the year will pass and he will be out of your hair. The bad news is there will be another one next year. It’s almost a shame teachers can no longer rule by fear…I remember a particular Nun that just had to look at us crooked and we’d behave…I don’t think she ever followed through with any real punishment but she’d walk by with a metal ruler in her hands and ever now and then slap a desk for no reason. But that would probably be emotional abuse now a days. Hang in there.

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  2. Sorry to hear about your difficult students. I’m not teaching this year, but before we moved I had been teaching for 13 years, so I know what you’re talking about. Have you discovered International Schools yet? I used to live in Korea, so I know about Hogwans. The hours are long and the benefits aren’t all that great. If you’re a certified teacher, check out some international schools and see if you can apply. The teaching environment will be so better.

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