28 July 2007

The past busy week

It has been a blur of a week. Things passed by so quickly. No time to rest and reflect. It was a week of downs and "down-ers" at school. It was a week of bad and "bad-er" spiritually.

Last Monday was difficult as I had 2 cases of ill-disciplined students. In the 1st class, the girl class rep simply refused to close her laptop during lesson time to listen in class. The rest of the noisy boys group by the side finally complied with my instructions but not her. And she was their class rep! Needless to say the next minute everyone else' laptop was up and playing away. What a way to spoil your whole week!

I felt defeated by a cheeky and defiant 17 year old kid. And am powerless to do anything to restore my "teacher" pride and dignity. I mumbled an impotent resigned phrase, "Alright, those who want to listen, just listen" and just carried on, trying to put the incident behind me.

The 2nd lesson (for another class) that day was bad too. Previously, in the former lesson, 5 students walked out of the class. I complaint to their Class Advisor, who then compelled them to write a letter of apology to me. When these 5 walked in, their faces were defiant and it screams of "You wait and see t'cher!". It was almost impossible to teach that afternoon. Students were talking loudly, walking in and out of the room without a care. Only about a handful were listening, or appear to be listening.

What do you do in such cases? scream at them? Pack up and dismiss the class earlier? or just carry on? I chose to do the latter. I felt weak and too drained to do anymore for them as I still have a 3rd class that day. And that was only Monday.

My colleagues noticed the change in my countenance. I refrained from telling them the whole truth. I had my pride to protect, sigh. I did something new that lunch time - I bought fruits and offered to share with them. They nearly fell off their chairs. One of them remarked, "It must be quite bad right?" She was right, but I just smiled and uttered, "Well, its just one of those days."

My pastor was right. Take your work seriously, but don't take yourself seriously. Here I took myself too seriously - my ego, and I was hurt by the teens, who would have forgotten about the whole episode the moment they walked out of the classroom.

Thankfully, the rest of the week's classes were not as dramatic, just the norm of poor attendance, students pressurising you to end class earlier, and wise-cracks wanting to escape class early.

Teaching is really challenging and draining. No wonder the government is increasing our pay next year.


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