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Friday, April 15, 2011

Saved by the bell - 1

The following day, I woke up and wanted day 2 at the high school to be just as amazing as day 1. I wanted to keep the ball of positivity rolling. I considered whether or not to do the same drama class. But I figured: the students I teach on Thursdays don’t have a great level of English. They’re often disinterested and they generally don’t participate. 240 students would rather put their heads down on their desk and sleep, than listen to me. Would I feel disappointed if I were to do the drama class again, and not get the same response as I got the day before? Yes, I would. So I figured to play it safe, and I did a different lesson…

Throughout the classes, I realized something… even though I wanted to keep the ball of positivity rolling, regardless of what topic I was teaching, I seemed to have reached a point where these particular Thursday afternoon teenage students have closed themselves off to WHATEVER it is I’m teaching. The fact that I went to high school on Thursday wanting it to be amazing, just like Wednesday, made the ‘fall’ I experienced feel like a massive letdown and deflation, but eventually a feeling of relief followed.

What happened yesterday? Well, I had 4 classes. The first one was good, they’re always a great and energetic bunch who respond and participate. The 3 classes that followed are always more tricky. And yesterday was no exception. They were extremely painful hours. To be able to have done my lesson normally, I needed their input. Without it, there would never be a lesson! Because I wasn’t lecturing or talking non-stop! If this had been the case, my lesson wouldn’t have come to a standstill, even if they were all sleeping, talking and showing no interest whatsoever.

What was the result of their disinterest? When I asked them to do something, they blatantly said ‘no’. I confronted so many of them, individually, with a strong, instructive, encouraging and happy attitude and even the quietest ones of the class, the ones that are ‘grade-A’ students, the ones who wouldn’t be disrespectful, they all refused…. For 3 classes straight, this is what I was facing. 180 students… 10 staying ‘okay’… 170 saying ‘no’. I was getting sarcastic, starting to take the p*** and giving back-hand smart remarks (as jokingly as possible). Not that they understood any of my comments and sarcasm; their level of English is too low… Even if they would have understood, I simply didn’t care in that moment. It was the only thing I could do to rid myself of some tension that was building inside… instead of walking out in the middle of class. I didn’t give a **** at this stage.

During the last class, I could feel my energy was being sucked out of me. I had 45 minutes left and knew that the worst class of the day was still waiting. I didn’t know if I had the positivity still flowing through me, in order to get them on my side. It was like the life was being drained out of me and I simply didn’t want to put myself under any more pressure in that hell hole of a school! I didn’t come to China for this!

1 comment:

  1. How frustrating. I feel that way with some of my gymnastics students sometimes ...