Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Survival Mode

I haven't had a single day off to put my ideas in order, but anyway I realized that my decisions are mine and, however high the price, I do like what I do.

Dealing with Middle School Students can be hell, specially if you get to the school right at the middle of the school year, which is only aggravated by the factor that youngsters nowadays have no idea about what respect or courtesy is. They are driving me mad, and it's gonna get worse as the end of the school year approaches.

However, while I was being told off because of my "lack of authority", of which I am admitedly 98% responsible, I was able to produce the most inspired speech of my teaching career; something that came not from the bottom of the heart, but from my very guts:
"Look, I know this situation is directly my responsibility, but let me assure you that I'm working to solve it, and learning from it. If I am finally given the second chance (of renewing my contract), I'll prove you I'm much better than this, because being here was MY choice, and no matter how difficult, I DO want to be here, because this is what I want to do. If by next year's first bimester things are not running smoothly, I will quit, because then I am of no use to this school; you have my word on that".

Certainly I got no applauses at all, but I realized then that I really meant how important being a good teacher is to me. It is not about "taming" 20 wills to my own, but about remembering what kind of strong person I am. I may have forgotten after two years of servitude, but what my students don't know is how much they have been teaching me about how mean and machiavelic they can be, and, sorry for them, they will found out only until next year, when I will have the reins in my hand, or the pan by the handle, as we say in Spanish.



3 comments:

YosoyineS said...

Hey, don't worry. as a student, I've been an impossible-to-handle-with, so I perfectly understand what you mean.

My advice? Be rough at first, but at the end of the year smooth things out. 'Cause if you play rough all the time, people will dessert (dessert, it's that ok?) from your class.

Good luck with that :S

XOXOXOXOXO!!

Miao said...

I agree with yosoyines - be rough at the beginning, set all the rules, have no qualms about carrying out punishments when someone disobeys you or transgresses your rules, and have a no-nonsense attitude. After they've grown closer to you, start loosening up a little. That way they'll get the message that you can be a friend, but you'll always retain authority.

You're a very responsible teacher - I hope you won't ever lose this job!

The Usual Stuff said...

miao and ines:

buah, buah, buah. That's exactly what my senior peers have been telling me to do. =(
In fact, I'm staying next Thursday with 6 students in Detention, so they see I really mean it. Hope they get the message. Ja!