What a day of ups and downs.
Sometimes this job is so rewarding. The kids are adorable, they respond wonderfully to the lesson plan, and you feel like the most awesome, fun, influential teacher in the world.
And then there are other days… The days where you feel like a failure. The kids don’t listen, they don’t respect you, and they sure as hell don’t respond to your lesson plan. In fact, your time would have been better spent doing monotonous repeat exercises instead of the super fun game you planned for them. They aren’t worthy of activities, stickers, and games that were so lovingly allocated for them.
Today was one of the latter.
Tuesdays are usually my toughest days. I have five classes, five different grade levels, and two schools. There is one school (out of my 4) that has managed to be my least favorite. The kids are unruly, and I’m pretty sure they are the rejects from other elementary school as each class seems to have its own dose of crazy. There is one class in particular which is just OFF the walls insane.
I walked in to find one student sleeping, five students reading manga, three students in an epic janken battle, two students stomping on the floor as hard as they can, one student swinging his arms back and forth and screaming at the wall. I wish I were making this up. The rest of the students were either writing on their desk or having conversations with their friends.
The teacher nodded at me, a signal to start class. Big surprise, no one answered my questions. In fact, they continued speaking Japanese OVER me (Silly English teacher, we are in the middle of a conversation. We’re fourth graders and obviously have matters of the UTMOST importance to discuss). It felt awesome.
There were a couple times in the lesson where I stopped to simply because I could not keep going. I need a moment to collect my wits, not scream at the top of my lungs, not storm out of the room, and God no, please not cry (I honestly wasn’t so sure I would survive the hour without doing one or all of those things). At which point, the teacher would say “Please. English. keep. teach” , as if I’m supposed to ignore the obvious chaos and continue the class.
When I decided, “what the heck, it’s the last day of lessons before Winter Break… We’ll just play this wildly successful game”. I had to explain it to them. I got out one word (“timer”) before I had 27 students SCREAMING Japanese at me from the top of their lungs.
Dear fellow teachers,
How do I get this class under control?!? I know very little Japanese and while I still have those cheerleader lungs, I can’t manage to raise my voice over 27 high pitched Japanese children. Their homeroom teacher does absolutely nothing.
Crying for help
There WAS an up though… my first grade class (at the junior high) responded to the daily questions (How’s the weather today? What day is it today? What’s the date today?) with screams of “I LOVE YOU, JACKIE!” “JACKIE ROCKS” “WE LOVE JACKIE!!!” The homeroom teacher was less than thrilled, but I was overjoyed. It was a bit awkward, but still managed to make me smile.