Last night over beer we were discussing corporal punishment, and I explained to them how when I was a child there was corporal punishment in the United States, but that it got outlawed about the time I went to middle school. That must have been around 1976, They wondered how we controlled the students without it’s presence, and I explained how corporal punishment didn’t work. I explained how it just gave more attention to students, that they were bad because they wanted attention, and that corporal punishment just made them be bad more. They kind of pondered this, half nodding. One said they had only caned someone once and felt really bad about it afterward.
I spoke about the talking in the classroom, and the teacher who had spent a lot of time in the U.S. and had observed U.S. classrooms went on to explain to the others that children in the U.S. are amazing and don’t talk when the teacher is talking. They don’t even talk to each other. They really CARE that they don’t hurt anyone’s feelings, they CARE that they don’t offend their teachers or their classmates. It really amazed him. And he went on to illustrate some of the many surprising ways in which Americans are extra polite socially. Like holding the door open for people. That blew him away. The other teacher’s observation was that the Korean students have no idea that THIER talking has any impact. I think she’s somewhat right. Each little talking circle is like its own private social universe. They all think what they do is inconsequential. A dozen circles all talking in a class of forty plus is enough to make you want to throw things.
So today, I did. This one class from hell just wouldn’t shut up when it was anyone’s turn. And this one boy was just totally oblivious to anything I would say. About respect. About being rude. Most of the time I just wait quietly until they all notice progress has ground to a halt, and then they shape up. But not this class. The guy just kept on as if it was his social hour, so I threw a chalkboard eraser at him and pegged him in the head. Direct hit. Nice white rectangle on top of his head. Ten, fifteen minutes later he was still trying to get the white out of his hair, and he was still pissed about it. We’ll see if he talks next week when I see him.
The earlier boy class today, I had FIVE boys standing due to sleeping, and one boy sitting in a chair by himself because he wouldn’t stop talking to his neighbor.
I’ve decided Tuesday boys won’t get music or video next week. I can’t get through the complete lesson due to having to stop and control their behavior. I’ve also learned that lessons are more effective when we work together on the board. But maybe for this class we will have to do some really dry paperwork until they shape up. IN FACT, I am going to pull out one of the really long, really dry sample lesson plans assembled from the other English teachers that the ministry of education has distributed amongst the Korean English teachers so they can learn how to teach spoken English better. That’ll show them to fuck with me. It is too bad for the good kids in class. One adorable cute and smaller boy with impeccable English handed me back my note card with two hands. I felt like curtsying back to him.
The mocking has pretty much stopped. I gave someone my kamikaze look (sorry – that unfortunate term was given me by my politically incorrect racist adoptive father, and I pull it, and the term for it, out when I can’t think of a term that pisses me off more or expresses just how pissed off I am) and then told the boy that was NOT funny and DON’T ever do it again.
My male co-teacher is still AWOL. I have no idea wtf he is doing with all of his free time, but I have also let the other teachers know I haven’t seen him…