I’m Learning Too

Teaching has taught me a few things such as teaching insolent junior high boys makes my face break out more due to the stress. It also makes me want to come home some days (like today) and just eat a pint full of ice cream and listen to Eminem.

More importantly though, teaching has made me a much better public speaker now. You learn how to gain confidence and how to get your point across when you have to stand up in front of ten squirmy, fussy kids and teach them elementary physics (which you learned and forgotten years and years ago) in their second language. Or when you have to make a fool of yourself so you can properly convey the meanings of certain words to first graders. So when a situation comes up, like today, when the school asks you to watch an English speech competition and then surprise-ask you at the end of it to stand up in front of 300 middle schoolers and fellow teachers and provide suggestions for improvement, (which you didn’t know you were going to so you were only half-paying attention during the speeches), you can really go up there and do it with one-third the trembling and butterflies that otherwise would have been all there and more a year ago.

I’ve also learned how to keep my cool a bit better. Taking a deep breath and just going completely silent when the class is being very noisy and disruptive is a lot more effective than shouting at them until you’re hoarse. The students will catch on rather quickly when you’re just standing there, staring them down, and emanating silent seething rage. I’ve also mastered the mean Asian-mom stare. That’s also very useful. But sometimes, when the fuse is blown, you gotta do what you gotta do and just unleash the wrath of a woman really driven mad. But I really try to keep it to once in awhile to preserve the full effects.

Classroom management is very difficult in my junior high classes. I realize that positive reinforcement is the best way to go when it come to anybody, but it only goes so far with a room full of twenty middle school boys. I usually end up threatening punishment like staying after class or writing spelling words ten times. Does anyone have any suggestions/tips that work particularly well, especially for the boys with really bad attitudes?

3 thoughts on “I’m Learning Too

  1. i saw something on supernanny where you give each kid a cup of ping pong balls (or a row of star stickers) and then everytime they do something naughty, you take one away. then at the end of the week or whatever time period, the kids that have all their balls get a small prize (you can make it a sticker or pencil or whatever)… it seemed to work for those really naughty kids and better than positive reinforcment (earning stickers)

  2. i usually just kicked them out of the classroom, and told them to go home. and a call to the parents work even on high schoolers there, because the parents pay for each class they take. so if they miss one, their parents get pretty pissed. i did that a total of 3 times, and never had problems from those 3 guys again, and the other students also understood what was going on, so it wasn’t too bad afterwards.

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