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Author Topic: This is what's going on in my classroom right now  (Read 2871 times)

Offline orangeman

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This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« on: November 20, 2012, 03:39:14 PM »
I don't have an office, I just have to sit at my desk in the classroom even as my CTs hold their afternoon classes.  There is really no where else for me to go.  I am used to handling the discipline/common sense side of our classes but it rarely ceases to surprise me how out of control their classes alone can get.  I'm not trying to insult my CTs or mock them, I just need to share exactly what's been going on in front of my eyes in one of these afternoon classes today just so I don't lose my mind.  This is a class of 2nd graders (hard to control, I realize but.......)

-Girl on phone, scream-talking with standard Korean whining voice. 
-Two kids playing with the lock on the door which has been broken three times in the last year because of kids playing with it, in order to lock out another kid who is pounding on the door.
-High pitched whistling
-Two kids doing the clicking sound with their tongue/mouth that has become all the rage in my school over the last few weeks.
-One girl sitting directly in front of me staring at me non-stop with her dopiest expression.
-All of them screaming non-stop for attention.  Like, SCREEEEEEEAAAAAAMMMMMIIIINNGGGGGG.
-Climbing on desks.
-Taking my pointing hand/wand thing and smashing it against the wall in an effort to break it (more).
-Climbing and kicking our hundreds of thousands of won colour copier (the only one in the school) in an effort to break it (more).
-Slapping and writing with marker on our touch screen in an effort to break it (more).
-Ripping of several posters and art projects from walls.
-Blatant writing on the desks, carving with scissors.
-Going to the basket in the front of class with pencils and such and intentionally breaking them and throwing the pieces on the ground.
-Violence.  Just....violence non-stop.

There's probably more but I refuse to look up any more.  This isn't particular to today, I just feel like I'm losing it because I have to prep an open class for next period.  I feel stupid because I don't want to interrupt her class or be a killjoy, but I'll say something to the kids like, "Please stop whistling" because it's really irritating, but then right away the next kid will start that clicking which is just as irritating so I'll ask him to stop.  Then I'll hear the pounding at the door and since no one else is doing anything, I have to get up and let the kid in and ask them to stop locking the door.  But at that point they're on top of the printer jamming colour pencils into it so I have to ask them to stop doing that.   Eventually I find myself yelling,  "For the love of GOD, stop stabbing the touch screen with scissors!  Why are you even climbing on chairs with scissors?!!  And who is screaming at the top of their lungs for no reason?  What are you an animal?!!  SIT DOWN JUST SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!!!"  And it's not even my class.  Besides being irritated by the noises (not the class itself, the whistling, clicking. pounding, whining on phones, etc.) I really couldn't forgive myself if one of these kids did hurt themself doing one of these stupid things.  That has happened with me around twice so far and while both times I wasn't responsible for the kids at the time I still felt awful and like I should have spoken up.

Of course after every class my CT will say, "The 2nd graders...they're so bad...no one can control them."  A year and a half.  1.5 years, not once have I heard her direct the kids in any sort of way.  Yes, because a 7 year old will choose to sit down and pay attention all by herself.  My mind is consistently blown by Korean schools.  I'm not saying I'm perfect, but the fact that I have to explain why a 7 year old shouldn't jumping from desk to desk with scissors in their hands indicates to me that we're all coming from very different places. 

I need an office.  And a drink. 

Offline Hongsam

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2012, 03:48:23 PM »
I feel for you. I've got a similar situation with a third grade class right across from the English room. They scream and bang and shout the WHOLE day. The homeroom teacher does absolutely nothing to guide them. Boggles the mind. Surely she'd lay down some rules just for her own sanity.

Offline JeremyC

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 03:49:05 PM »
Wow ... Just wow.

I thought you were talking about 2nd grade middle or high school kids, not elementary.

You also need a book, a smartphone and some good earphones (noise cancelling) until you find a place to lesson plan in peace.
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Offline taewon

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 04:03:56 PM »
I too have an office in the classroom and it has made for a miserable year!! If I could just have those precious few minutes to get my head together and focus...... It makes a big difference in how you feel at your job. I can sometimes hide out in other parts of the school, but that sometimes is worse if the kids are bored and want to bug me. It sounds like you have it worse than me. Yes, good morning child! Thank you for banging on my keyboard and yelling in my ear at 9:02 a.m. I would be so much happier to see the children If  they were not screaming in my face for 10 minutes before class. Good luck OP! you have it worse than me and I'm sorry (EMPATHY) no lie.
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Offline tbaren

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2012, 04:07:11 PM »
There's no discipline anywhere. My third graders (middle school) refuse to stay conscious, but it's always "We can't do anything. They don't want to."

One teacher even told me "We're not allowed to hit them anymore so we can't do anything."

Offline dani23

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 04:26:57 PM »
Wow ... Just wow.

I thought you were talking about 2nd grade middle or high school kids, not elementary.

You also need a book, a smartphone and some good earphones (noise cancelling) until you find a place to lesson plan in peace.

Me too! That is just crazy. Thanks to you, OP, I just scanned my school and found a spot I could hide out if things ever got THAT bad. IN my 3 years here I have never seen snything like that. My kids chat a lot, sometimes I have to prevent a fight, but this? WOw. Just wow.

Best of luck, OP. SOrry I have no advice to give. But you have our sympathies.

Offline confusedsafferinkorea

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 04:27:41 PM »
Well I have been here for four years and two schools (Elementary) and it NEVER ceases to amaze me what Korean teachers allow in their classrooms. The most basic rules are not enforced (students keeping quiet while the teacher is speaking, pretty basic).

I teach with what is regarded by Koreans as strict teachers and they allow this basic nonsense to go on, appear not to even notice it.

During the last couple of weeks I have been having huge problems with my 6th Graders and I don't back down and give them hell, throw them out the class etc. The home room teachers cannot or will not really step up to the plate for you. By stepping up to the plate I mean call the parents, set up a meeting etc. From what I can gather, I have the least problems with the 6th Graders, they are apparently 100x worse with their homeroom teachers. Every subject teacher, every homeroom teacher is complaining about them but NOTHING gets done to solve the problem.

When I ask why? I am told that they don't want to involve the parents because they will be blamed and usually the higher ups side with the parents. Again, it boils down to this abomination here in Korea called 'face saving'. I hate that concept with a passion, it has to be the most destructive thing in Korean society today.

My heart goes out to you the OP, if you stay on another year, ask for a transfer to another school, it cannot be worse from the sounds of it.
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Online thunderlips

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2012, 04:51:40 PM »
I am laughing at this post only because i can somewhat relate.
I also thought u were talking about middle school students at first.
I am still in awe that this educational system is cited the world over as a beacon of hope for the failing educational systems worldwide.   

Today I had 3 sleepers, 2 desk writers, 3 random ADHD attacks and yet amid this all when I ask "How are you?" I can literally hear a pin drop.

Worst part is they do pay attention for game time, even if they cant answer one question.

Offline MIGHTYMERICAN

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2012, 05:10:34 PM »
This just made my day. My first year in Korea was awesome. My elementary students were fine, respectable and the like. However, I think they got too comfrotable with me and now all of my after shcool classes are almost like this (minus the scissors). It sucks that im only 3 months into my new contract and i cant wait to be finished. Idk if Ill go back home or just do a middle school for a year and then leave.

Offline papayapie

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2012, 05:15:34 PM »
At first I thought I was reading an old post I wrote.

I feel for you. One of my co-teachers cannot manage her classes at all, especially her fifth graders. They go insane. Screaming, climbing on stuff in the classroom, throwing scissors, punching each other in the face, crying, anything and everything. You name it.

My office =/= the English classroom, so I can't really escape either. I can't even try to lesson plan or prep because it's impossible to think with all the noise. I look to my co-teacher like do something, please. But she's usually just texting and drinking coffee.

I don't wanna be THAT teacher and try to regulate a class that isn't even mine. Especially cause said co-teacher and I don't have a great relationship to begin with, so I doubt she'd appreciate it. She'd probably see it as me trying to show her up or something.

Long story short, I usually just walk around the hallways during those times when she is teaching and I'm not, or I'll go use a computer in the teacher's office or the library. Or I will seriously go stare out a window for 40 minutes, wishing I could fly back home to America. Or contemplate jumping out.

I'm not sure why there seems to be no discipline here. Probably because there are no repercussions. Students can't fail, they're rarely if ever suspended/expelled, there's no threat of going to the dean's office/principal's office....I mean, I can't even write that the student has a bad attitude on their report cards. The whole school system seems to be in favor of the students - with the students dictating how things go down.

Just try to escape for those classes if you can. Do you have a laptop? Bring it to work and hide somewhere far away from all students when those classes are going down. Or if you can afford to do nothing during those times, do nothing. I'd say just ignore it/put on your headphones, but I know that kind of insane stuff can't just be ignored.

Offline Hoosier_Jedi

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2012, 06:26:48 PM »
Sounds like my 1 & 2 grade class. Thank god that's only one hour a week.

Offline Orkblut

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2012, 06:43:30 PM »
I have a third grade class like this. I really feel for that co-teacher though, she looks stressed out, but she does try her best to reign them in, then it's just mad TPR activities which helps, or sometimes a PPT game. I've never seen kids so out of control before, or that loud.

The worst was summer camp, I had a mix of 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders for TWO HOURS each day with no co-teacher. It was just like the OP, kids breaking things, running around screaming - I don't know how I made it as it's all a big nightmarish blur, but I suspect with winter camp coming up I will soon be remembering it all...


Offline confusedsafferinkorea

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2012, 06:51:22 PM »
Someone should send the link for this thread to Obama. I read a couple of times how he admires the Korean Education System and thinks the US should emulate it.
Everything is not as it seems.

No one owes you anything.... get over it.

NEVER think a failure is the end of the world, it is the beginning of a new opportunity.

The earth is flat....... I think, ha ha ha !!

There is no known medical cure for stupidity!

Offline Jeff619

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2012, 08:25:02 PM »
I feel for you.  It's pretty much the same at my school.  I'm seriously thinking about calling it quits and just working out of my apartment because I don't think I can take much more of the craziness.

Offline Squire

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2012, 10:52:17 PM »
I have it on good authority I'm at one of 3 'notorious' schools in my city. I can completely understand the 2nd graders being a problem too. I don't teach ours (thank god) but I've seen how they behave in the English room during after school classes. I came in one day to find a hole had been kicked through the wall once. Other times I've seen them climbing out of the window and over the bars to stand on a tiny ledge to amuse each other (this is on the 3rd floor). 2nd graders seem like some of the hardest kids to manage.

I'm surprised there's nowhere to go except the English room. Are you sure? How about the main teachers' room? Aren't there other teachers' rooms too? Or a library? There's no chance I'd sit in on a class while I'm not required to be teaching. I don't have my own desk at school but I make the most of that. If I don't have access to a computer I can't be expected to work, so I just sit on the sofa and read, study or sleep. I quite like it. I mostly just waste time when I'm on a computer anyway (like right now, for example)

Offline orangeman

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2012, 10:45:04 AM »
Thanks for the replies/empathy.  I've been here over 7 years at this point (on and off), this is my second PS.  I'm not really surprised by much here anymore, though it does rattle my nerves often (like yesterday).  Sometimes I do leave the area, I'll walk around or go have lunch (I often don't eat the school lunch because I like, you know, proper food).  I'll even go hang out at my place up the road sometimes.  There isn't really an area for me to go to get away from the kids in the school.  In my experience in Korea, the kids pretty much have free reign of the place and it's difficult to escape them.  At least at my last school I could lock our office door although they'd often bang on it to get in or open those stupid windows along the hall.

Unfortunately, I teach a lot of different classes along with several afternoon ones of my own, so I really do need to do work at my desk most of the afternoon, especially now that I have to make winter camp materials. 

It's not bad enough for me to quit or hate my job, I just don't understand Korea on this point.  Kids are going to do crazy things everywhere, I'm not blaming them.  But the adults here are so lazy and incompetent.  I'm sorry to say that, but I think my CTs spend more time complaining about being busy than they do actually doing work.  Then they have this idea in their head that teachers in Canada/US have it so great.  Listen, teachers where I come from are at school from 830am-5pm, teaching most of that time if not doing extracurriculars.  I never saw my teachers napping at their desks or drinking tea for 2 hours.  Koreans seem to have the idea that they're the hardest workers in the world when in fact it's sometimes shocking how little they do.  Apparently 'teaching' is just being present in the classroom. 

I like my CTs as people, but I have a hard time understanding their teaching styles, if you can call it that.   


Offline papayapie

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2012, 11:30:04 AM »
Completely agree. My main co-teacher is constantly whining/complaining about how tough her job is. She hasn't made any of her own material the entire year. She downloads everything off waygook and the Korean website similar to this one. She doesn't teach that many classes. She has no obligations around the school other than her English classes. She never gives homework or tests, so she literally NEVER has to take work home.

Being a teacher in the US is insane. Always around kids, creating your own materials, putting things together, having to coach soccer after school or whatever, grading papers, grading homework...I laugh at her when she says she has it hard here. They've set up our work hours so we automatically have TWO FREE HOURS to lesson plan after classes end every day.

I'm just like...you do nothing...ever.....could you at least control the kids? Maybe? PLEASE?

Offline potblackettle

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2012, 12:41:55 PM »
I have four co-teachers (high school).  One of them, the newest teacher, is very young.  This is her first teaching job.  She is sweet as she can be but she's just clueless.  I've been doing this for 6 years now.  I am strict, but also very "fun".  I've been at my school for 2 years so most of the kids are rather attached to me since I'm the only English teacher they've known.

The young co-teacher has been getting absolutely mauled by her classes (commercial/trade high school, these kids don't really care about studying).  She finally asked me for help because apparently her classes with me behave better than any of the other classes we've seen.

We have a seating chart.
We have a monthly contest where the classes compete against each other to win a prize. 
We have random prizes in random classes so they never know.
We have serious rules.  For every screw up you have to stay one minute after class.  Kids can end up losing 8 minutes of the 10 minute break between classes which they absolutely hate.  If they escalate and get nasty with me they are out of my class (this is hard for a lot of  teachers because some co-t's won't let you do it.  I explained to mine from day 1 that I was not going to be harassed by a teenager and if I said a kid was out, they were out for that class period).

Just don't take any crap from day one.

Offline lee233

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2012, 01:07:41 PM »
Someone should send the link for this thread to Obama. I read a couple of times how he admires the Korean Education System and thinks the US should emulate it.

Heck, not just Obama, but good number of educators. I have a teaching degree from the US and I was often told while doing it that we should try to make our education more like certain Asian countries (like Korea) because they achieve such high test scores. Now that I am here I doubt the validity of some or the scores. I have seen some test altered and the issue of a student cheating at the high school placement test be brushed under the rug.
Also I thought the kids in the US were bad, but I am often astounded by the cruelty and rudeness of students. I am fortunate and have not had to deal with too many issues with my students, aside from the usual sleeping. Though to be honest I attribute that more to the fact that I am a 6'2" white male than any of the discipline I try to administer. I guess the old adage about the grass being greener on the other side is proven true once again.
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Offline Tiberious

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Re: This is what's going on in my classroom right now
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2012, 01:33:51 PM »
I have four co-teachers (high school).  One of them, the newest teacher, is very young.  This is her first teaching job.  She is sweet as she can be but she's just clueless.  I've been doing this for 6 years now.  I am strict, but also very "fun".  I've been at my school for 2 years so most of the kids are rather attached to me since I'm the only English teacher they've known.

The young co-teacher has been getting absolutely mauled by her classes (commercial/trade high school, these kids don't really care about studying).  She finally asked me for help because apparently her classes with me behave better than any of the other classes we've seen.

We have a seating chart.
We have a monthly contest where the classes compete against each other to win a prize. 
We have random prizes in random classes so they never know.
We have serious rules.  For every screw up you have to stay one minute after class.  Kids can end up losing 8 minutes of the 10 minute break between classes which they absolutely hate.  If they escalate and get nasty with me they are out of my class (this is hard for a lot of  teachers because some co-t's won't let you do it.  I explained to mine from day 1 that I was not going to be harassed by a teenager and if I said a kid was out, they were out for that class period).

Just don't take any crap from day one.

Yes! Thank you!
We need more teachers like you.
So many teachers are afraid of being disliked..it only leads to problems further down the track. I am firm, but fun and fair. I have rules and stick to them.
My classes are perfect by any means, but I would like to think my students know where they stand.

 

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