Saturday, September 23, 2006

Total Bedlam!

This past Friday I was supposed to have an easy day, supposed to is the key phrase in that sentence. I was scheduled to teach a two-hour class for one of the Chinese teachers, who took a few days off to tend to her sick mom. That's it, just two hours. I was glad because I didn't feel too well that day and thought I'd take it easy.

When I got to work, everything seemed hunky-dory. About 30 minutes later, Sandy, one of the Chinese teachers showed up. She had a PTA that day and wanted to know which foreign teacher was helping her out. A PTA is when the parents of the students in a particular class come to the school to see how their children are progressing. One of the foreign teachers takes the kids in the second half of the PTA so that the teacher can talk to the parents. This is unusual because they are usually little kids and they don't speak much English, tough to teach without the Chinese teacher in the room. None of the foreign teachers were scheduled to help Sandy that day. After a mad scramble, my boss discovered that she made a mistake on my schedule and that I would have to be the one to help Sandy. Ugh, I wasn't in the mood.

So, after some preparation, I headed upstairs to the PTA. One thing I should mention is PTA's are generally pretty crazy because the kids are wound up after performing for their parents. The teachers spend weeks preparing the students so that they can shine for their parents. This means that the kids are ready to blow off steam and raise Cain. This class was no exception. The problem was I wasn't in the mood for craziness.

Five minutes into the class, I start losing my grip. The kids were bouncing off the walls. Suddenly evil Teacher David appeared. I grabbed one kid by his shirt and pulled him to the front of the class, it was time to lay down the law. I had him stand up near the white board and hold a marker on top of his head. The rest of the class thought that was pretty darn funny, but the kid wasn't happy...he stood there for about 30 minutes looking incredibly goofy. This tactic wasn't enough. Not soon after I brought him to the front, some of the older boys in the back of the room started getting wild. By this point I was at the end of my rope. I walked over to their desks and had them take out their books. No more mister nice guy. I had two of the boys open their mouths and I put the books in their mouths and told them to bite down! These two boys spent the remainder of the class totally silent and embarrassed...not nice, but I was grumpy.

The class was a bit more subdued after that. I just wanted to get the heck out of there as quickly as I could.

This is not my normal way of dealing with problems. I rarely have situations like this and I wasn't prepared to deal with it in a sane manner. I hope I don't have to teach that class again anytime soon.

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