It’s very hard not to behave the way I want to. When you do something and you immediately see kids follow your lead, it’s weird. When I say “Yo!” to get someone’s attention, the boys all start yelling YO!!!!!! I had an incident where i broke my classroom door and i said (under my breath) “shit!” and it was pure hysteria with around 15 to 20 teens bouncing off the walls saying SHIT SHIT SHIT!!! I noticed this phenomenon on my first day when I went into school like Chuck Norris on some vengeance type shit. I was not gonna take any guff. So, I figured if I went in like a mercenary, I could become more lax later on. So, when I first started teaching, I went off on every boy in every class for every little thing. If I saw you giggle out of the corner of my eye, I was going to rip you to shreds. When i would yell at someone, the whole class would start screaming at him. Strange..However, this did not put fear in the hearts of the guys. Instead, they started to think I am a dick. So, that was a peculiar problem. I wondered how to keep these pirhanas disguised as little kids from tearing my flesh up, chewing me up and spitting me out. At the same time, I wanted them to like me. Hmmm, there had to be a middle ground…So, I learned that yelling and screaming isn’t working for me. It works in that they keep quiet but it doesn’t because they lose all enthusiasm or josh if you know what i mean.That is something i have to tinker with.
The one common goal with all my students is that they want to be rich and successful, when i ask them what jobs they want when they graduate, the most common answer I get is CEO. ( The other answers are usually singer, dancer, and drummer. I usually like those guys better) So..I began earnestly one day.. “I know many of you want to be CEOs and head your own companies…Do you know who this is? (I point at a slide of Yong Nam ,CEO of LG) This man is the CEO of LG (They are crazy abt cell phones so they go crazy that a korean man is CEO), Yong Nam says that the most important thing for Korean students today is to learn English! Do you understand now? Is it sinking in how much English can help you?”
Silence. Then, a hand goes up. ( Yes ! !)
“Yes. Tell Me.”
“TEACHER, DO YOU LIKE SEXY LADY!!??? I LIKE!!” (and he kind of swivels his torso in a way that is more like he is trying to keep an invisible hula hoop going than a suggestion of anything sexual)
I giggled and just moved on. Yong Nam would not be the answer.
I teach 7th, 8th and 9th grades so each class is quite different. Contrary to what I believed, it seems the younger the class, the easier it is to get them interested. The reason being, my ninth graders are going to graduate in 6 months anyway so they must wonder who this jolly brown giant is trying to harass them for their swan song..
It’s justifiable that they don’t care seeing as how nobody really cared too much about teaching them English their first two and a half years at the school.
So, then i saw my arch-nemesis and he comes up to me and starts offering me a beef skewer and it was not even poisoned or anything. He just realizes when I am going off on him I’m doing my job. I give him and all of them props because thats very mature and something I probably only understood in the past 3 years or so…Actually, i always understood that but was unable to not take things personally.
But, then the English Department and my co-teachers always want to talk and they feel like they are not being inclusive and friendly if they don’t bring me to lunch with them. So, I sit in the cafeteria laughing at jokes I’m not too sure about and looking pensive when getting advice I’m not sure I understand and sometimes I just don’t agree with. It’s funny..trust me…being a teacher is great but being a student is where it’s at…at least then, when people make bad jokes, you can just slap them in the back of the head and that’s always funny.