Tuesday, May 03, 2011

True or False

True or False:

1. As long as you are a responsible teacher and teach in a way that challenges and interests students, they will be motivated to learn and appreciate your class.

(Answer below)

The other morning, I walked into class only to hear a class of freshman students moan. Yes, moan out loud for me and the walls to hear.

“Good morning. Nice to see you too. Have you prepared for today’s class?” (They were to prepare an English corner.)

They look at me with blank stares and no one responds. Finally, the monitor of the class responds, “We didn’t know what to do so we didn’t prepare anything.”

“No one has anything prepared?” I ask incredulously.

More shaking of heads and shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

“Okay” I respond. “Then you will all get a 0 for the assignment and we’ll study next week’s lesson. Open your books to page 112.”(Side-note: I also woke up this morning with a terrible cough. I nearly hacked a lung out during the night while I was sleeping and had a tone of voice that was one octave lower than normal.)

Luckily, I kept my cool and was even relatively prepared to teach the next week’s lesson since I was teaching it that afternoon too. However, at the end of the class, I gave these students a mini lecture (enhanced by the fact that I sounded like I was dying) about how they needed to take the class more seriously and show respect by not moaning when their teacher walked into the room. “We have 6 weeks left, so I expect you to improve your attitude in this class.”

After class, about 5 students rushed outfollowing me to tell me they were sorry that some students had moaned in the class and they told me to take some medicine for my cough and get more rest. (Culture side note: I’ve heard that in China, an open apology is not so common. Instead, people will use some round-about way to try and make it up to the person they have wronged. In my head, I told myself that the students “concern” for my cold was their way of apologizing.)

What a timely reminder to me that teachers, no matter how much they try to motivate, to be innovative, and to challenge students, simply might not receive the appreciation or even respect they think they deserve. If you want a glamorous job, don’t be a teacher; be a locksmith.

The answer is False.

3 comments:

Reflections said...

I am sure you inspire your students. Sometimes it's difficult to get motivated as a student and it has nothing to do with the teacher. I have had trouble myself this last while.

bitsyinchina said...

I remember days like that... not so long ago! I'm with you, P! And I'm cheering for you. Will be asking that they perk up. Sometimes it helps to remind them that they have a CHOICE to have a good or bad attitude. Sometimes it doesn't help, though.
Love you, P. Cheering for you!

Norman & Joyce said...

A quote from one who has never been in a classroom as a teacher: "You work only 6 hours a day and have three months paid vacation." (moan)