**So I know we’ve been kind of slacking on the blog posts. We vow to write more and make this blog super cool. Starting….NOW.**

We are just starting our third week of classes and things had been running fairly smothly until now. My grade 1 and 2 (7th and 8th) classes are split up between high and low levels. The high level has 30+ kids, and the low levels have about 7. I see the high level classes every week, but the low level only every other week. Last week I taught low grade 2 for the first time and even though most knew very limited English, they were still well-behaved for the most part and tried to listen. This week I had my first grade 1 low classes, and that is a whole different world.

My first class went alright, I presented a PPT introduction about myself, they tried to fill out a worksheet and ask questions, and they picked English names. Successful enough. In today’s class, 5 kids show up, (2 missing) so my co-teacher goes to find them. So now I am alone. In the classroom. With 5 kids who do not want to listen to me, and would rather run around, scream and play musical chairs.  I try to start out just asking them random questions, hoping my co-teacher comes back soon to help corral the wild beasts, but I am alone for quite some time. So I begin my PPT introduction and try to entertain them with pretty pictures of my family and hobbies. They are engaged for a minute or two, but then the screaming begins again. Oh lord.

I try to do the planned activity with them without much success. My co-teacher comes back, but it seems that nothing will stop them from running, screaming, and throwing shoes at each other. I finish the lesson early and try to explain to them that if they act crazy, we will not do anything fun again EVER, and I will never give them candy EVER. I ask do you understand? They say yes, but I don’t believe them. The only thing that quiets them for all of 2 seconds is when they ask, do you have a boyfriend? Normally I try to avoid this question, but I answered yes, in an attempt to talk about anything they find interesting. They start asking more questions, Dong-Bolli boy? (where Joel teaches) and then start screaming that they love me and point to one boy in particular saying that he should be my boyfriend. Ugh.

By the end of class it was taking all I had to not scream at them.

Too bad I can’t do this:

Or this:

Written punishment

Maybe if I looked like this, they’d listen to me.

Must think of some other creative punishments or rewards that they’ll respond to. Until then I’ll leave them to the array of interesting punishments they receive here, and practice my deep breathing.

Post about punishments in my school soon to come.  🙂


8 Responses to “Hooligans”

  1. hahaha oh man I totally had a class just like this today! ruined my whole day! I had to have a cigarette afterwards! We will get thru it!!!!

  2. Hahaha…. sorry Gina. It sounds like so much fun. I think you should have just yelled… let them know you are serious! Love you, keep your head up!

  3. awww!! sounds totally crazy and totaly hilarios in hindsight. They will respect you as soon as they realize how much of a super cool person you are (and not just because of your bong bong boy hahah)

  4. Thanks for posting this, G. Yeah, had me a rough day too. What’s evil is that my CT left me alone to explain a group game w/ “our worst class”, after I had “just” spoken to her today about disciplining them & how they were targeting the fact they didn’t think I understood Korean. Her excuse for leaving wasn’t even a good. I yelled at the class, sent 2 fighting boys to the back of the room & made one of them cry, while the rest raised a ruckus. When she came back & expected me to continue teaching, I excused myself and walked out of class.

    • Yikes, yea honestly that’s pretty much the same thing that happened to me. My CT left the room for the majority of the class and I was left with the worst 5 kids who were screaming and beating each other up. Too bad I couldn’t think of any horrible, embarassing punishments for them…

      She later said – Well the students wanted to talk to just you – I said no way, don’t ever leave me alone with them… I told her we needed to think of punishments for them, but she didn’t understand.

      I have those kids again on my birthday next week, so I’m brainstorming of ways to discipline them and they better not be bad. Let me know if you have any luck!!

      • Yea, been there and it can get espcially tough. Personally, at times I use a stick, pull hair, or make them do squats or press ups – sort of depends on their age and the school. When corporal punishment is banned in Korea you will be able to countdown to the first assault and murder of teachers. All experienced in the smack free west. In my first day as a newly qualified history teacher in a UK high school, I was spat at. Assaults, physical and sexual are common and we have had a head teacher knifed to death when he tried to stop a fight. Recently, in the small town in which I live in the UK, a teacher was kicked unconcious. Metal detectors, in house police and even knife-proof school uniforms are all a reality in many UK schools.

        I am not in the least cruel or nasty and often angst over punishing decent kids who have been ‘naughty’. Indeed, I usually have to force myself to punish them. My boss is a great teacher but if kids don’t do their homework or cause a problem, I am expected to use corporal methods. Unlike the UK, in Korea, there is no mistake about who is the boss in a class room and if you are finding this difficult, and I do at times so I am not being patronizing, it is usually because you’re thinking within western confines and not Korean ones. You will find a small but siginificant group of professional teachers in Korea who have abandoned teaching in the west due to lack of discipline, motivation and anti-intellectualism. By comparisson, Korean kids, even when bad are angels.

        I find this a fascinating subject but have also noted that the only students (high school) I have experienced as being rude or disrespectfuul are ones who have had some education in the west where they have meet peers who would have had a very low regard for teachers. However, I generalise somewhat. These are my opinions based on my experiences and there are some brilliant students in the UK usually tucked away in top set schools many politicians want to dismantle, (eg. Grammar Schools). I also have an extensive blog on teraching in the UK and so this is a topic close to my heart.

        Find out what Koreans do in your school and what limits are placed, if any, on punishments. Good luck with your experiences, Korean life and your blog. Despite my austere comments, I am a very soft and gentle person and not a stick wielding maniac!

  5. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for the thorough advice! Yea, my school has some interesting punsihments, including doing squats while pulling their ears, standing in a corner holding a soccer ball over their head, etc. I haven’t really resulting in punsihing them much, other than a light smack on their shoulder to get their attention or something.

    Most of my classes are angels compared to what Middle School kids are like in the states. The only classes that I feel I really need to figure out some kind of discipline regime for is in the low classes, were I have groups of 5-7, most of whom can’t speak much English at all.

    Next week I’m going to try and be stricter in that class and really lay down the law. I’ll let you know if I have success!

  6. Gina, this is such an interesting subject as of course, back in the west, or certainly in the UK, the punishments your school use would be deemed child abuse. The fact I have ‘hit’ kids in Korea really angers some of my friends and collegues back home – and I mean angers then at a very deep and emotional level. Ironically, it was just over twenty years ago that the Uk still canned students, often harshly and often with their bare buttocks exposed. Indeed, I was actually slippered naked during a pe lesson when about 12. it is quite frightening how a society can so radically alter their views in such a short space of time.

    Well, I wish you luck with the ‘bottom sets.’ I often try to get such classes doing hands on work, like drawing or something, in order to rescue it and from which to teach, but you probably already use such tactics. Hell, such classes can be tough because you often have to ‘perform’ to hold their attention and that is draining work and you have to spend excess time planning – I think it would be easy to make them hold the ball over their heads and to reserve the squats and ear pulling until you are particulalrly stressed and need some therapy. Of course, the probelm I find is that often the difficult kids are adorable. Nick

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