Now that I’ve been teaching for 2 months, it’s about time to weigh in on the pros and cons of the job.
I feel like I haven’t really had time to think about what I’m doing, let alone reflect on whether or not I’m actually enjoying myself. I’m kept busy, that’s for sure, with sometimes up to six classes in a day and as little as three on others. Some days I come home so exhausted that I can’t even be bothered to go out for dinner and literally scrounge for food in my apartment.
Some of the pros include the adorable, adoring children who behave and participate and genuinely seem to want to learn.
Then there are those kids who come to class, talk, fight, and generally misbehave with their friends. Even they have their cute moments, despite sudden and short urges to wrap my hands around their throats.
I enjoy the lessons, which are simple question and answer patterns taught through games that are sometimes a giant hit (dodgeball… God help me) and sometimes fizzle out before they’ve even begun. Learning how to deliver the lessons has been a hit and miss experiment that I’m still working out.
While I feel like I have a favourite in every class, there are certain levels that I just despise teaching. Kindergarten 1 (aged 3-4) when we first started was usually just a giant gong show of kids crying, peeing and puking. While they still want to cry, sometimes simply rubbing their back or getting them involved in the game or song is enough to make them forget their tears. However, I’ve gotten used to them and now find them too adorable to be angry at. My P1’s have stopped being scared of me, and are warming up to being the babies in the school again, while my P6’s are all on the ball. They know the format of the lesson, they understand what I want to teach them, and they know that if they’re not quiet, they really won’t get to play a game, so threatening (sometimes) actually works with them.
My P5’s, however, all seem to be at an age where they couldn’t give a bigger hoot if I did jumping jacks or ran laps around the room instead of actually taught them a lesson. Also, they don’t seem to actually care about playing games, so short of threatening to kill them and wanting to follow through on it, I haven’t quite figured out how to make them stop fighting / talking / screaming / running wild. Instead they’ll just shout “not fair” as if it’s some kind of joke that I’m actually angry with all of them. It’s almost as much of a gong show as the first month of K1 lessons, without all the bodily fluids. (Unless you count my tears)
There are definitely days when I want to strangle half the children I come across, but the majority of days I just want to sweep them all into my arms in a giant bear hug and never let them go.
I think as time goes on, the kids will be more receptive or I’ll just figure out a way to force it into them, whether or not they realize it. Then again, in every level, I have always had at least one “ah ha” moment when I’ve been trying to explain something and then they just GET it. I forget all about the ones that I wanted to strangle, and I just feel overwhelmingly proud of how smart they are, and that I’ve actually taught them something.
It’s an indescribable feeling that makes all the sweat and tears worth it.