My first week as an English teacher is overwhelming. I have 10 different classes that meet multiple times a week. Knowing the lessons, printing out the materials, and getting a crash course on a computer system with drop down menus in Korean is making my head spin a bit. But by next week….or the week after, I’m sure I’ll have that all figured out. It’s the children who are really going to keep my on my toes.
I estimate that I’m teaching about 90 children this term. Most are really sweet, and even excited to have a new teacher. Some are shy and very quiet. Others are whizzes – their English is impeccable at such a young age. But, I’m sure some of the most memorable students will be the trouble makers. I’ve already pinpointed two – after just one class. You may be wondering, how I can pigeonhole these students when I've only spent 40 minutes with them. Well…one little boy about 8 years old sure knows how to push the boundaries. He gave me the finger – the bird – the universal F-You -- not just once, but twice.
I’ll be honest – I was pissed. Okay, so in class we were doing an exercise and kids were holding up two fingers and three fingers. But, it’s pretty obvious when a child shows you the back of his hand and only his middle finger. So – I scolded “Jimmy.” The second time I gave “Jimmy” what I hope is my mean look and really scolded him. He managed to get my blood boiling and that was likely his goal. He won.
I realized afterward that the rest of the class didn’t react. There’s a good chance they don’t know what “giving the finger” means. Since, I want to keep it that way – next time I’m going to ignore “Jimmy.” If I ignore him long enough and the class isn’t reacting, maybe he’ll give up. That’s my hope, anyway.
Another tactic would be pointing my finger in his face and yelling “Listen, you little %&$@*!” – but I’ve been told that’s not a good teaching technique. Plus, I want to keep my job.