Little ball of madness

Thursday 31st March 2005
Hello everyone,
Well, I haven’t written for a while because everything’s been going pretty well, just classes and tv and other mostly boring stuff.
I did have a really good class yesterday with my adults – we were having a discussion about what we would take to a desert island. My choices were mainly chocolate, booze, cigarettes and some friends, Annie was very determined (she spent a good hour with her dictionary before class) and decided to take fire, blankets and a book with knowledge on how to live on a desert island!! (I think she meant a survival guide, but it was very organised of her!)
Liz said she would bring a hammock, a dvd player, a chef, and a red convertible sports car if the island was big enough (she’s learning to drive at the moment). Jane was the best though – she included a bed, sofa, fridge, tv, oven (and pretty much the entire contents of her apartment!!), and then at the end she blushed and said she’d bring a young man that wasn’t her husband!! We all thought that was fantastic and couldn’t believe none of us had thought of it!!
So anyway, that was fun, and my adult class are really nice, I’m really enjoying their classes actually.
Anyway, everything’s been going well at school, at least, until today!!
I was in my last class, and after we did the textbook stuff and the spelling test, there was a bit in the book about chinese whispers, so I thought I’d teach it to the class as our game for the day. I got them all spread out around the classroom, and explained it to them a couple of times, and off we went. The first time around they hadn’t got the hang of whispering, so everyone could hear it, so we tried a couple more times. then one of the kids couldn’t hear me (bcause I was whispering obviously!) I explained that it doesn’t matter because the idea is that you just say what you think you heard, and the the outcome is supposed to be different anyway. we tried again a couple more times, and it still wasn’t working so I asked Jenny to come in and explain the concept to them in Korean. They weren’t really listening and by this point I think they were deliberately winding me up. We kept trying, and they were still ending up with the same result as the beginning, I tried once again to explain to this kid that it really really didn’t matter if he didn’t hear what I said, that he could just make something up, and he just kept staring at me and laughing at me and I completely lost it. I literally started screaming “IT DOESN’T MATTER!!! JUST SAY ANYTHING!! FOR GODS’ SAKE JUST WHISPER SOMETHING TO THE NEXT KID!!”
I actually saw red, and when I stopped screaming and took a deep breath I realised that the entire class was just staring at me, and then Cathy gently tapped me and said ‘Teacher, your face…is …..purple’. I also realised that in my blind rage, I had actually (and I’m not exaggerating) literally jumped up and down and physically stamped my feet in my intense rage.
I was quite ashamed, and a classroom of silent thirteen year-olds is quite a sight. We tried it one more time, and this time I stepped in and deliberately changed it so that the end result was different, and I think they finally got it. Anyway, I’m sure most of you are thinking, ‘Why didn’t you just give up and play something else’, but by that point they were doing it on purpose and really driving me crazy. The weird thing is that this particular class is actually usually pretty good and well-behaved. When I got to the staff room, Cal asked me if I was alright (he heard me screaming from his classroom), and I swear I had this tight little ball of complete hatred in my stomach – I could practically feel it!!
I don’t think I have honestly ever been that angry in my entire life. I keep saying that and then I seem to develop a new level of rage!!
Bizarre!! Anyway, I came home and fixed myself and especially large drink (3 parts vodka to 1 part lemonade), and am calming down very slowly.
It all such an up and down ride – just when I think I might actually be cut out for this job after all, getting my spirits up and enjoying teaching, this kind of thing happens and the kids are looking at me like I just grew three extra heads!!
However, to end on a slightly more cheerful note, I did have a breakthrough with my five o’clock remedial class (they range from 7 to 12 years in age, but after a couple of years of English classes they still can’t spell their own names). We’re doing weekly spelling tests now with all our classes (one of Jenny’s new things), and obviously we were going to skip it with this class. I had a brainwave the other day, and tried to teach them the spellings by singing the letters in a tune. we made it like an American high school cheer, with hand-actions (very YMCA-esque), and amazingly they did it!! We had our first spelling test, after lots of practice at singing, and then when I told them what word to write, I hummed the particular tune, and they all went ‘OOOOHHHHHH!!!’ and scribbled furiously!!! Out of ‘cloudy’ ‘snowy’ and ‘sunny’, almost all of the kids got at least two out of three, which was just amazing!!
So, like I said, a lot of ups and downs , but I’m just not sure I have the patience to do this long term!!
Thats all from me for now,
Hope you’re all well, and that you never meet my alter-ego, ‘Maya-teacher’ – she’s really frightening!!

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