Saturday, February 23, 2008

Teaching Nuggets

I’ve been reading teaching blogs. I’ve been spending weekends lesson-planning. I’ve become ever-so-slightly more organized. What have I become?
Anyway, some random teaching moments:

I completely lost the 11.C last week. Both classes, even the good half. I lost control and I lost any remaining respect. They had several tests in other subjects, and nothing I did coerced them away from their science/geography/math books back to English. I took books, they produced new ones. I confiscated notes, they borrowed from friends. It was an all out disaster. I’m used to there always being that one kids who refuses to pay attention, but this was overwhelming. The class just universally decided that I, and my lesson, wasn’t worth their attention.

One of the 12.C boys told me this week, in the midst of a long string of complaints, “This class is so boring. It’s worse than when Kevin was teaching us.” (“Kevin” was the American teacher before me, a warmhearted and funny man universally liked as a person but despised and looked down on as a teacher, by students, co-teachers, and administration alike.) After my initial shock, I wasn’t sure what to make of this comment. After spending a good long time thinking about it, in the end I brushed it off. Mostly, because it came from a lazy troublemaker of a student. But partially because I know that, although I have good days and bad days, I am NOT as bad as Kevin.

One last negative incident, this one bordering on seriously disturbing. Again, the troublemakers in question are two boys from the 12.C class mentioned above. Picture this: it’s the end of a lesson with another class. I’m wrapping up, going over answers, assigning homework, etc. The classroom door opens and Boy 1 comes in, ready for his next class. “Oops, you’re still in here,” he says innocently. I glare at him and he backs out. Then this repeats. He does it again, twice, in the five remaining minutes. Then he does it again the next week. And the next. I could almost accept this, and therefore ignore it, as him simply provoking me, but this week it took a new turn: Boy 2 got involved. His contribution was to pull his hat down to cover his face and pretend to sneak into the classroom holding his arm like a gun.

In American schools, I know, this would absolutely not fly. But here, I don’t know what to do. I think I’m stymied because I’m at such a loss to imagine what the hell he’s thinking. Masked gunman? Part of me thinks he’s a diabolical genius who’s playing me as the typical American with the all-enveloping irrational fear of a school-shooting. A bigger part of me thinks he’s just an ass. What to do?

Anyway... there’s my recent teaching life. No, I promise there have been some good moments as well, and I’ll post them as soon as I recover enough energy.


Howard said...

Can you wipe this after you've read it, please.

I know the feeling, you walk in all ready for whatever, and they all have their heads down sweating on Physics or Maths or IT ...... I change plan and do 1 to 1 chats, each has to sacrifice 3 minutes from the lesson and study the rest of the time. Practice in Spoken Interaction. And they get to review the work they need, and are (usually) grateful for the chance.

Balazs said...

Its not very clever to post all these here mate, the name of the school, the town, everything, soon 1 of the troublemakers will find it and you will be in further trouble. Anyways teaching in hungary can be a bitch sometimes but you sound all right so I hope you will pull through, take care