Until then, this month is very busy. We (my teaching partner Ben and I) gave two tests this week which consequentially had to be scored, recorded and returned, then recollected and stored. I am constantly collecting/correcting/returning diaries as kids work towards completing all ten entries. Next Thursday is Parent SOSE day. All the science integration classes prepare something for parents to come in and see. Most classes are doing some kind of presentation since this is supposed showcase not only science knowledge but use of English. We've got each class of 24 kids broken into 6 groups of 4. Each group has a different chapter we've covered from the book (bones & muscles, soil, water, USA, symbols, diet & digestion). They have to make a visual presentation (poster) and a spoken presentation (they are free to read from a script they prepare). That means all of our semester plans went on hold so we could get all of this together. Lord help us, I think we'll be ready with time to spare.
The kids have decided that they are ready to be the inmates running the asylum. There are several factors outside my control working against me; I started mid-year and wasn't able to start grade four with these kids. There is always a bit more chaos when things are changed in the middle. I am the only female teacher in my department. Most of the primary school homeroom teachers (85%) are women, but they are also Korean. I think being a foreign female (no jokes please) means there are different interactions and expectations. It is a bow to the elders, give way to the men Asian culture. Third, the parents are so much tougher on these kids that I could ever be that any threat I throw out can't rival their folks. Some kids have written in the diaries that they are hit at home if they get a bad score, don't study incessantly or misbehave. There are moments that my visceral instinct it to smack the smirk off a kids face but I know I could never do that. I've been told there are a few teachers at the school who use corporal punishment. I haven't seen it and don't know which teachers these are, but it wouldn't surprise me. I've blogged before about the physicality of these kids and from what I extrapolate, the Korean culture. Unless I'm ready to whack a student, I'm a shadow of a deterrent.
|courtesy of clipartpal.com This tranquil scene is the goal.|
I received an observation feedback form (that's a whole other blog) that mentioned I should institute some class rules. What teacher in their right mind would run a class of any age, any level without rules? It also recommended that I use punishments to deter bad behavior. DUH?!?! I didn't know whether to laugh or fell highly insulted. I have. I have. I HAVE! This is my problem, it's not working. Nothing I've tried has really successfully worked. I returned the observation for with a request for suggestions, I'll mention that the observer is Korean. She just said to keep trying and hope for better kids next year. Great, what do I do until then?
I've resorted to giving a ridiculous number of lines for the time being, both the "I will stay in my seat and listen in class" variety and the "copy a chapter from the book" variety. The next step is standing in a corner, I'm weighing a dunce cap. I don't like to give punishments that take away from their learning time. If they're writing lines in class they aren't learning. I was sending lines home as I'd been told kids will reform at the mention of lines at home because their parents will see them writing them (see above punishment). The kids would bring their lines in completed and continue to misbehave. Ben said he uses lines to immobilize students and I get that now. If they have ten minutes to write ten lines it means they have to get to work. They can't be out of their seat or disturbing other students. It keeps them from setting the whole class off. I didn't grow up writing lines, I think it's mostly gone by the wayside in the States. The threat of lines in Spain was usual enough to curb the behavior. I think I gave lines maybe a dozen times in a year.
|courtesy of huffingtonpost.com|
|courtesy of addiction.narcononrehab.com. I guess it could be worse.|