About two weeks ago I reached a level where I was fed up with many of my students who ignore me and even worse, make so much noise that sometimes I can’t even hear myself speak. Disruptive behaviour like that is bad enough for me, but what bothers me is that I can’t teach the students who want to listen.
I don’t see it as a problem when students don’t want to listen because that is their choice. At the end of the semester I have to give a mark that will count 20% of their total, apparently. I have no problem giving someone 0% because they failed every test and didn’t do any assignment. It is too bad the can’t fail a year in school.
Anyway, I notes of who the students were. They are normally the groups in the back of the class. I made sure I had all the right names and then typed out individual letters to explain to the parents what the situation is and that for the rest of the year these students will be sent out of class for any disturbance, not questions asked. You might think I am being harsh, but I think that if I have to ask you to be quiet ever week then you had fair warning, wouldn’t you agree?
Yesterday was the first week that the warned students were back in class and wouldn’t you know it, the first students crossed the line already. I started speaking, telling the students what we were going to do for the day. The one group in the back, who incidentally had two girls on warnings, ignored me. I stopped, waited a few second, started again to let them know I was speaking, and stopped. I walked up to the table pointed the two girls to the door and waited. After bewildered looks they got up and went out.
The girls didn’t have any idea why they were outside. When the Korean teacher showed up I met her outside and told her why they were outside. She explained it to them and I am sure they could see they were not going to get past this one because they didn’t even try to complain to me.
The fun part about all this is that this week we are watching SpongeBob, which means the two girls had to stand outside and hear every one else enjoying the episodes. The really fun part was watching them try to see what was going on. The front door to my class, a glass door, lets you see the whole screen, but at a very tight angle. The back door, also glass, lets you see a smaller part of the screen, but at an easy angle. They were switching from door to do, trying to get a better view.
Koreans have this idea that saying “Sorry” is enough. I understand why the think that, but if you do the same things every time then it is not enough for me. I don’t care if you say sorry, just shut up and let the students who want to, study. After class they apologised, as if I expected it, and waited for me to say they can go. I really don’t care. They have to get my attention back with their actions now, not their words.
Just before you think that SpongeBob is a lazy thing to do, please consider this. The students have to write essays about the episodes. I will have to mark these. That is where the not being lazy comes in. I expect to get really terrible English, but I feel that someone needs to start challenging these children to think further than their noses and start putting sentences together that are not already written in the book. If this works and they I think I will have to make this a regular activity.
By the way. I have dictionaries I can use now. Now they have no excuse for not knowing a word.