It’s not your fault.
As teachers I know it’s easy to think that is, but it’s not.
Well some things are, of course. We are responsible for ourselves and responsible to always try to make the best lessons we can and do right by our students.
But for anyone teaching in a public school, or anyone like myself teaching at a middle school, let me just take a second to reassure you that some things
Repeat that to yourself over and over if you need to.
I’ve been trying to remind myself of this as much as possible as my students behavior steadily get’s more and more frustrating. And for the difficult students as I become more and more of just a teacher to them, not a game show host, or a friend, or a class they can sleep in, the behavior gets worse. The higher my expectations the longer I find myself standing at the front of the class waiting for them to all stop talking.
And it’s worth doing. It’s worth trying to be a good teacher and expecting a basic level of respect and participation in class. It is good for them to have more foreigners in those kind of roles in their life.
I try really hard to be that for them. I want them to like me but more importantly I want them to think back in 5/10 years and think of me as a real teacher, as someone they respected.
But in instances like the other day when my co-teacher I walked into a classroom on two students fighting, literally pulling out each others hair, it simply is not my fault.
Often, often, often, there are circumstances that despite all your best efforts you simply cannot control.
When the one student who never comes to school waltzes in to class 25 minutes late seemingly determined to garner as much attention as they possibly can and you lose everyone for a bit, it’s not your fault.
When students have somehow made it through 5+ years of English class but still don’t know the alphabet let alone the grammar your going over, it’s not your fault.
When a class is so bad that your co-teacher begs you to switch class times with her that way she doesn’t have to face them alone first period Monday morning, it’s not your fault.
When despite giving the prompt two weeks in advance and the twenty minutes they just spent doing absolutely nothing in their classroom, a student still walks out for their speaking test and won’t even answer, “how are you,” it’s not your fault.
When a co-teacher will talk and laugh with the kids who are blatantly not participating in your activity, it’s not your fault.
When your kids are disrespectful to you in ways they aren’t to the Korean teachers because society has largely portrayed foreigners as ridiculous, un-understandable, entertainment rather than an authority figure to be respected it’s not your fault.
There are a lot of things that you can control in your classroom but there are also plenty of things that you can’t.
Middle schoolers can barely control themselves don’t worry when you have a hard time doing it as well. There are a lot of things about this job that are amazing but for me the hardest are the multitude of little things that completely out of our hands.
We’re getting to the point where the end of the year is in sight. It’s hard to believe that another school year has flown by this fast.
I know it’s easy to do but try not to give up on the classroom management even as the end approaches. In the end (I feel, just personally) it’s better for your kids to respect you as a teacher and a person than for them to like you as a friend.
So keep trying, do what you can the best that you can, and don’t stress about the other things that you have no control over.
Good luck and 화이팅 for the next three months ahead.
Thanks for reading!