Thursday, February 5, 2009

Don't be a pushover

Today I stopped being the "nice language assistant".
I only had one hour of teaching this afternoon. Since the teacher had already prepared an activity for me to do with the class, I (wrongly) assumed things would have run more or less smoothly.

My students arrived to class quite happy (after all, it's fun being with the assistant), with some latecomers about 15 minutes after the bell... The students were supposed to work in groups of three, or pairs, and fill out a worksheet. I explained the activity to them, wrote examples of what they were required to do (in French and English) on the board, and walked around the class trying to help them out. Realising that some students weren't cooperating, I told them that I would have to speak to the teacher. They didn't want this, obviously, so most of them got to work.

Some students on the other hand ... well let's say that the combination of their listening to music in class (???!!!) , taking photos with their cell phones and plain not paying attention (esp. when sitting in the front!) just crossed the limit. The bell eventually rang, and I picked up worksheets left behind by two students. One worksheet was completed and the other one only had one line written. (later to be used as evidence ... hmm, not a good idea to leave your work behind!).

Well, I told the teacher about the problems I encountered. She and I went to the principal. Soon after, the four students in question joined us in the principal's office. In a way, I feel bad for the students. However at the same time, I needed to do something about their behaviour - show them that I'm not a pushover - else things would only get worse in class. Well, the outcome is that I will no longer be having those particular students in my class. The attitude displayed by one of the girls really had me wondering if I risk getting beat up outside school. I was assured that this will not happen lol. It's hard being like an intermediary... I'm not a teacher but I'm like a teacher... I'm younger than the teachers but I'm not much older than the students (ok, not old enough to be their mother, but I could be a young aunt lol) ... I guess it's hard for them too since they aren't sure how to treat me.

This is not an experience I enjoyed blogging about, so I just wrote the gist of what took place. I've been told that I am probably too nice to the students. Hmm, I don't know if I would say that. I prefer to be nice than to be mean (seriously, I put myself in the students' shoes.)... but somehow I'll have to work on not being a pushover. I'm getting there.

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