Thursday, August 03, 2006

31st July

Rant. Rant. Rant.

Things are not good. First day’s teaching was bad, and I am not a happy man.

My suspicions about this job have been borne out. I have three major gripes:

1. Inadequate to time to prepare lessons. We are given 1 hour at the start of the school day to prepare what we are to teach for the whole day. This could be up to 8 lessons.

Given that we are not supposed to just work through the textbook, and are meant to devise games and draw posters for the lessons, this is not enough time. Schools only open 1 hour before, so going in early is not an option either.

My suggestion would be to give teachers a pared down schedule at first to give them time to work on their lessons and to become accustomed to the textbooks.

2. Incorrect information about what lesson to teach. Previous teachers record which point in the syllabus they have reached (eg what page of which text book etc), and then I plan the following lesson accordingly.

Except on two occasions yesterday I devised lessons which appeared to have already been taught, leaving me looking like a complete dick.

3. …and the most pertinent: inadequate training in how to teach children. My friend is a primary school teacher. She trained for 1 year. Much of her training was in classroom management; how to control the kids.

I have had one day’s training on 9-12 year olds and one day on 4-9 year olds.

They are running riot.

Yesterday wasn’t so much “in at the deep end” as kicked off the side of a boat into the middle of the Pacific in a hurricane.

Found I was having to string every lesson out as exercises fell flat, or were made redundant because they had already been taught.

The adult lessons are great, however. I knew what I was doing, the students are intelligent, reasonable and are there of their own free will.

However, one young couple, who were very nice, politely pointed out that the text book I had brought out (and used to create questions for them on the board) had been finished two weeks ago. See?

No. Adults are fine. It’s the kids. Little shits. The boys were badly behaved, and I spent most of my lesson telling them to sit down, or encouraging them to get on with the task at hand. I had varied success.

The girls meanwhile are perfectly behaved, but get bored when you spend most of your time trying to control the boys.

The school suggests that if a child is bored with an activity to move on. They also suggest that if a child isn’t paying attention you let him carry on, and that he’ll return to the activity when he is ready.

What? Control them, but don’t control them. Teach them, but not if they’re not bothered. Ridiculous.

I have very little training, and the general approach of the management seems to be “just pull it out of the bag”.

What bag? You’ve not put anything in my bag. You don’t tell surgeons to “pull it out of the bag” (unless of course it’s following some kind of scrotal accident)

Lawyers, doctors, soldiers, electricians, chefs, plumbers. How much of the training for these professions involve someone going:

“Ok. How to be a plumber. Part 1. If you find any leaks, mend them. The End. Any questions? No. OK bye.”

Contrary to this irate display, I really like the country, the people, the atmos, the buzz, the transport network. But this is tougher than I thought.

Yes, it was my first day of teaching. And yes I have probably got the hump because it didn’t go well. But the kids are a nightmare and I appear to have been given very little help.

Second day of teaching is imminent, and if I have a similar experience, I won’t be happy.

1 comment:

giacomo said...

You poor bagger! Yes, maintaining control of a classroom of unruly children is the only issue I have with ever taking up the teaching profession.

You have three options:

01. Learn hypnosis.

02. Start employing some muscle to heavyweight your commands. Call him Odd-job.

03. Pretend that the kids aren't there and just teach anything you feel like. It worked for most of our Secondary school teachers, and as long as you keep your body odour in check you may just survive three years.