Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Challenges in the classroom

So as much as I love my new job at Hyun-il Middle and High School, I have been dealing with some challenges which at times have been a real battle. Today is Tuesday and my most difficult day at school. I walked into work this morning telling myself it was going to be a good day, and praying that my students would listen and participate. Sadly it was not the case.

Let me recap quickly...I have 10 classes in middle school and 10 in high school. I have 6 co-teachers in total. High school is awesome and the students participate for the most part. My middle school classes on the other hand never cease to amaze me with their lack of interest and sleeping through anything capabilities. On Tuesdays I have my 3 most difficult classes with a co-teacher that rarely shows up and when she does show....well she might as well not have come. I get little to no help with translating or discipline. Today she told me, "Savannah you shouldn't worry about the students being loud and rude, just keep teaching." This is not acceptable to me so today I decided to write her a letter in which I will make her feel that she is needed and beneficial in my classroom. Although I feel that getting a replacement co-teacher would be the best option, I think thats not a possibility. Therefore I have to work with what I have got, hopefully I can make her feel important enough to get her to come to class and actually help me to improve it.

So as you can see my day didn't go so well. All three of my classes with this co-teacher were a joke. She came to the first class we had together but the students still misbehaved horribly. Then she didn't come to the other two classes. This makes life for me and the students even more difficult because sometimes the students need a little help with translating. The main problem is that I can't even get the students to be quiet for 1 minute to give them instructions for a game. They are constantly up running around, throwing paper at each-other, bullying one another, and yelling while others are speaking. I got extremely angry during 2 of the classes today, sending two students to the hall and having to yell pretty loudly and bang on the chalk board to try to get their attention. I don't like being mean, but I think I may have been a little too nice from the beginning and therefore the students see no consequences for their actions.

So after watching youtube videos all night on discipline in the classroom and how to effectively teach I have come to the conclusion that I need to try another approach. I also think that the students are not bad children, but maybe their level is low and therefore they are acting out or they have no motivation to do well because they do not receive a grade in my class. I have decided not to take the anger approach but rather implement some rules and consequences that I should have started in the beginning. I want the students to feel motivated and have fun. I found an awesome website called edutopia.org which discusses what to do when students misbehave. The only problem is that it is so difficult when the students don't speak much English. I know that if I spoke Korean or if my co-teacher would help me to effectively teach and lay down ground rules my classes could be so much more effective. All I can hope is that my co-teacher reads the letter and is willing to put in the effort. I really try to focus on the few good students who want to learn in the class but it is so hard when they can't even hear me speak because everyone is so loud. I hope this gets better soon, I find it very disheartening to try so hard and still have constant issues with these classes. Hoping for the best~

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