#@#$(*& Students!

So, I just had to discipline AN ENTIRE CLASS. Ironic that the first time I’ve actually had to punish a student (I had to isolate one last week, but it wasn’t what I, and the Korean system, consider punishment) I actually had to punish an entire class.

They didn’t like my lesson, so they were being silent. So, I asked them if it was too difficult. Silence. I told them that if it was, I would do an easier activity. Silence. I had my Korean co-teacher translate. Still silence. After 10 minutes of trying to get them to say something, anything, I told them that if they were going to be silent, they were going to do so uncomfortably. I made them all stand up from their desks and stand with their arms outstretched. Silent. For the entire period. Believe me, after 15 minutes, it starts to hurt.

I’m vaguely worried about retribution, however. Last week a teacher punished a few students, and they broke 7 windows in the teachers office in response. I told my co-teacher that in America, those students would be expelled, or at least suspended. These were the 8th graders, who apparently are a reasonably violent and vengeful bunch, so I do have to be careful about what I do with them. After the bell, I asked them “Did you enjoy that?” “No…” “Will you speak when I ask you a question, in the future?” “Yes…”.

Apparently they think I should only play games with them. I told them that I would play a game with them the last week of every month, but if I *only* play games with them, they will not learn anything from me, and they will never get off the island, that they will not get into university (a halfway decent knowledge of English is generally required), and that they will end up as farmers (and the Korean word for farmer is the same word for “peasant”). Harsh, yes, but they really pissed me off. They were completely disrespectful to both me and the co-teacher, and the other Korean teacher who was brought in to help. They were disrespectful by American standards, and *extremely* disrespectful by Korean standards.

It’s early in the year, and I do *not* want to start off the year seeming like a pushover. I really hope this has some effect. As a friend of mine says, if I continue with the same, all I will do is achieve compliance through force, which is not a productive form of classroom management.

1 Response to “#@#$(*& Students!”

  1. 1 Mom September 3, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Hey, Sorry about the classroom difficulties, but your Aunt Nancy thinks you’re doing a great job as a teacher. I’m sure it doesn’t feel that way sometimes though.

    Thanks for putting up the photos of your house. I definitely see what you mean about the mold. Yeah, keep that one closed off!

    I assume that is a photo of some of your students? Cute!

    When I send your birthday jacket, would you like me to add your winter boots or other shoes or something else? Please let me know within the next week.


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September 2008
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