Rough Day at the Office

Normally I write about how peachy keen it is to teach, but right now I’m recovering from a rather rough afternoon with some brand new English learners.  I’ve mentioned age reckoning before in my post about Lunar New Year so remember that when I’m telling you my students are five years old, they’re really 3-4 years old.  When I was that age I was trying to eat crickets (true story, ask my still-horrified mother), not learn a new language, so I don’t blame the kids for today’s meltdown.

I was elated earlier in the day when these two little munchkins said “Hello Alexa Teacher” to me in the hallway and entered the class room with high hopes for our sticker activity, story reading, and self portrait drawing.  These hopes were very very quickly dashed.

My one girl student began the class with her tiny head on her desk crying and mumbling in Korean.  I don’t speak Korean.  Strike One.  We managed to recover after some help from a Korean teacher and our “Hello, I am _____” game went… ummm.. okay.

About twenty five minutes of lots of uncooperative crankiness followed on both their parts (I even at one point had to go track down my student who was wandering the hallways instead of getting a pencil from his bookbag next door) so we took a ten minute play break before the second block of our class got started.  Things did not get easier.

The little boy kept trying to escape the classroom, repeatedly saying “go home time” while ineffectually twisting the door knob, my girl student started sobbing again, and we never really recovered from there.  David was angry at me because I wouldn’t let him leave the classroom to go wash out his cup (he wasn’t drinking from it, so this was pointless) and when it came time to draw a picture of ourselves and write our names, he drew a big frown-y face.  I gave him a sticker for writing his name nicely and he ate it.  Oh geeze.

Hee-joo was in total meltdown stage by this point, crying uncontrollably for her mother (in Korean) but simultaneously not wanting me to put her down and David was standing in the corner glaring at me, cup in hand.  A Korean teacher came and soothed the the crier in Korean and let her pack up her pencil case and go sit in the lobby for the last ten minutes of class.  This left me with David, who got his way on the cup washing, and then kept climbing all over the desks instead of listening to me.  Then he grabbed my desk clock and tried to eat that. It. was. bad.

I hurriedly left school and alternately fumed/wanted to cry for about 45 minutes, then noticed it was snowing out my window.   What is going on today, world!?


4 thoughts on “Rough Day at the Office

  1. Hahahaha…he ate the sticker.
    You know, you’re going to laugh at that someday soon.
    If it makes you feel better, one of my (high school) students tried to climb out a window yesterday. He seemed shocked that I noticed him with one leg out the window and one leg inside. It was… special.

    • Oh, I know that shocked look all too well! Even though the kids often don’t understand jokes, sarcasm, etc I still find myself saying to them “Do you think I’m blind?!”

  2. Oi, I feel you. Some days it just hits you that you’re dealing with small kids (not rational adults who really want to learn English!) who aren’t able yet to figure out how to cope with their emotions, and eating stickers and crying for mom are just their outlets. I’ve definitely had my share of those days, a couple of which did end up with me in tears, pouring myself a glass of wine.

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