Ah. That's the feeling I've missed. Exhausted, and lovely. Not nearly as exhausted as when the first graders keep me running from table to table to stop anyone from setting anything on fire, but good enough.
I've got one complaint today -- just one, but it's a doosie. I've got one new coteacher who I've never worked with before, otherwise here as of yet unmentioned. I had two classes with her today. She's always been a bit uncomfortable with me, and she makes me uncomfortable, and I'm not sure if it was her discomfort or mine, but her two classes didn't go so well. The second one got better after the halfway mark, but the first one was pure rubbish. Afterward, she decided to make a suggestion. She informed me that making sentences was hard for the students, and that maybe I should make an answer box, and have the boys select a pre-written answer and read that instead.
Christ. Way to miss the point.
First of all, I haven't got them writing full sentences. I've got them finishing sentences, with their own opinions. I realize that's not the standard way things are done here, but, the way I see it, it is an absolute necessity. If the boys are going to start learning how to converse in English, they're going to have to start learning how to think in English. I don't expect them to get the "right" answer on my worksheets -- that's not what my class is about. It's about making them think about what they want to say, communicate enough in English to convey it to me, so that I can tell them the best way to say it.
I know it upsets the boys at first, and makes them extremely uncomfortable, to have to make mistakes and ask for help. But I've seen them pick up on the idea extremely quickly after a few classes with me, that I'm not there to condemn them for not getting everything exactly right -- I'm there to help them figure out how to get it right, and work with them on their own level, whatever that may be.
Multiple choice answers that they read out loud? How fucking boring is that?
Well. What am I supposed to do? Technically, they're my classes. But I have a feeling things can get extremely uncomfortable if you go against the grain of your coteacher's advice. Normally, I'd try to find a way to accommodate it. But this is something that I feel really, really strongly about.
My other new main coteacher, however, is fucking brilliant. The students adore her, and our class times together are genuinely enjoyed by everyone. We get actual class wide conversations going. And she goes out of her way to try not to simply translate things, but to help me explain things, in English. She always, always asks me before she translates something. She's also really into teaching the boys idioms, and giving them new ways to say what they mean in English. Most important of all, when I explain the reasoning behind why we say things in a certain way, which I really think makes them stick much better than just trying to recall based on rote memorization, she understand well enough to translate if we need to. Today, I was able to explain why "pet peeves" is pet peeves -- peeves are things that make you angry, and we call them pet peeves, because, like a dog that is your pet, they are yours -- they belong to you, specifically. I guarantee you that class contains the only students who will remember the phrase "pet peeves" in a year's time.
Getting better at fending off the raunch attacks in class. Today I had my first class with a handsome young man who speaks next to no English, but who has made a point of staring at me, in a frankly creepy manner, ever since I first arrived at the school, and waving. He's one of the ones who always gets yelled at by Smartass Teacher for lurking around too much. Today, he had an English speaking buddy nearby translating little bits for him. I was trying to help the boys in front of him, when he broke into action out of one of his leers and leaned into my face.
"What are you doing? Why are you so close to me?"
He responded by pulling the eyelids of his left eye back.
Something to his friend in Korean. How do you say_______? Friend replies, "Eye color."
He looks at me. "Eye color."
He's got hazel eyes, which stand in stark contrast to all of the brown and black eyes he's surrounded by.
"Yes. Your eyes are hazel. I know."
He pulls his eyelids back again.
"Kid... do your worksheet."
I skipped over him and his partner to the couple behind them. At which point I overhear his friend telling him how to say so beautiful, sexy, and lover. I didn't look up from the worksheet I was correcting. "I can hear you."
His voice: "Teacher?.... Teacher?...... TEACHer?"
"Oh... after school --"
A minute later.
"Cell phone --"
Next I'm leaned over another couple of boys helping them work out an issue with an answer, and out of the corner of my eye, I see him stand up, put one foot on his chair, and thrust his hips, as he's explaining something to his pack of mongrel pals. He then walks over and starts fooling with a locker behind me.
"What are you doing?"
Somehow got drawn into a conversation about the various physical merits of female Anglo film stars by this pack of ne'erdowells and ran out of time before I could make any of the boys read their answers aloud. I approved of Scarlet Johansson, and had to side with Hazel Eyes on the issue of Angelina Jolie being much hotter than what's-her-face from the Harry Potter movies.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Well. No. But it just so happens the boys managed to pick two of the lovely ladies on the top of the Girls Liz Would Love to Shag Senseless List. Can't help that.
As much as I hate the complete and utter disrespect I'm shown sometimes, in the form of minuscule schoolboy sexual harassment, I have to admit, I wouldn't have a fucking clue what to do with girls in comparison....