Heart Attack-Worthy

I got so furious today with my seventh graders. My second class is the worst of them all. They’re all rowdy and talkative and don’t seem to care to learn one bit.

They talk and talk and talk all through class, and I’ve long given up on yelling at them especially after the first few times because it strains my voice too much. Instead, I wait with a glare until they notice and shut up themselves. Today, after the fifth time of doing it in a ten-minute span, I was getting more and more frustrated.. then the kid in the front (remember the kid that no one likes, but he really  brings it up on himself) pipes up and goes, “Teacher, hurry, we pay $500(NT = $15.75USD) for this.”

Oh. my. god. That’s it. I blew up.

He was accusing me of wasting his time?!?!?! I CANNOT teach when 20+ students are talking to each other and not paying attention to me! After repeatedly asking them to be quiet and pay attention, after having to listen to them toss me snide comments in Chinese in response, and after having to ask them simple questions that I’ve gone over and over and over again with no comprehensible answers, he was accusing me of not doing MY JOB? I asked them if they went home and told their parents that they are paying $500 for them to come to my class and talk the whole way through. I am there to teach, but are they there to learn? Whose fault is this really??? It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

Alas, but that lasted five minutes, and things were back to chaos again. SIGH.

(My first thought really was $500 per class, that’s it? No way, I know your parents are paying a lot more than that. But I didn’t tell them that.)

These kids are going to give me a heart attack at the young age of 24.

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8 thoughts on “Heart Attack-Worthy

  1. Tina darling,

    I’m so sorry. I felt this exact way with my “second” grade. They did the exact same things, I tried a million different approaches, and in the end nothing helped…because they didn’t care. All the speeches, lectures, punishments, prizes…really only were momentarily and then I was just waiting for the clock to tick by. It can really really wear you down mentally…just remember back to the kids who do care, the ones who draw you notes saying Teacher Tina is so pretty…haha. (and eventually the semester will be over) My advice? Stick to the little ones you can bribe with stickers.

  2. I wonder what would happen if you blurted out Chinese? like “AN JIN!!!” and then went back to English as if you didn’t know a word of Chinese they were saying.

  3. I’ve been going to a Taiwanese senior high school here in Taipei, private one at that. (Ever heard of Kainan?)

    The school is really, super strict, and the students are scared to death on every rule. Have to be in class exactly when break ends, will get their names called out to the entire school if they are one minute late in the morning, can’t sleep, eat, drink, have anything but the absolutely necessary on their table, and can’t even leave their bags on the floor during classes. Every single little mistake is noted down and all is added up and used for collective punishment of their classmates.
    And if you can’t get good grades because the teacher just doesn’t like your negative attitude, you’re going to be a loser for life because you can’t get into the good schools or colleges.

    I bet that if it’s just virtually the same in junior high, then it’s no wonder to me, that they don’t know how to handle this great freedom they suddently get in the buxibans. When it’s suddenly not they who have to please the school, but the school who has to please them.

    Obviously, I’d blame this whole social issue solely on the current picture of the high schools. They just don’t allow the kids to grow up.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you about the education system here not letting kids grow up and releasing all their pent-up energy in wholesome activities. There needs to be more sports and clubs and letting kids be kids, but that’s a whole other topic.

      The irony is that I am also teaching at a private boys’ catholic junior high/high school, and my bushiban kids actually behave much better than those boys. These boys are obedient and such for their Chinese teachers, but when it comes to us foreign teachers, then all the respect and rules just don’t seem to apply anymore. That’s what frustrates me the most.

  4. Great post! Wait, except for the heart attack part… Maybe this is a bit late, but when you go into class tomorrow yell at the kids that the next time they talk your walking out and heading straight for… Australia with me and Zhou!

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