It is obvious everybody goes through this.
To start class today, because it was Monday and because I wanted to wanted to get a few students to share what they did this weekend (and wanted to hear examples of the simple past) I asked the class “What did you do this weekend” and I got no responses. It was so painful I have to question if I want to do this job anymore. At the moment it’s just not worth it.
As I had the opportunity to go through a number of teachers (not a compliment) these issues come up all the time.
1. Passive attitudes in class
2. Irrational competitive attitudes that lead to emotional reaction
3. Extreme attitudes to teacher, you give a finger they take a hand, you don’t give a finger, you are too strict
4. Teaching to the wall. Zombies falling asleep in the classroom
The issues is that these four experiences are inconsistent with each other, but somehow all happens in the classroom, at the same time.
The second issue, is that often school management doesn’t really support the teacher to deal with these issues, especially not in private academies. Since students are the Kings, it is difficult as a teacher to establish a role of authority towards the student. Without an established role of authority, it is impossible to control the classroom.
You will face these issues, and you are going to have to find a way out of it. My only cure to the problem is comedy… Not in a clownish fashion though, because then you’ll get a nr.3 on your butt. I tend to use a more mocking kind of comedy. I tend to use a stern period in class, and a relaxed period in class, keep the kids out of balance and focused on tasks. The thing is, when the task is just outside of their competence, Koreans kids tend to go in zombie mode, if the task is too easy, their competitive nature comes up rather than trying to do a good job. When you ask them to do the same thing three times in a row, they’ll throw their hat and just “get over it”.
Keep the kids confused. That’s my answer! :)