Archive | October, 2012

Read first chapter of NW by Zadie Smith. Copying her style here (er, my version of it, so not really like it at all)

13 Oct

He slams the door because I guess he wants me to know he is angry.

Silly boy, silly 16(!) year old.  Maybe 17.  How can he think I don’t already know?

Every day 20 minutes late.

He grabs papers from my hand.  He barks out one word answers when I ask him something.

He tells me to go away.  He speaks to the other students around him in his first language because he hates the speak English only rule that i didn’t make up.  I’m simply trying to enforce it in a class of 20 teenagers who don’t want to be here.

After three weeks I’d finally given up because telling them every bloody second was tearing a hole in my gut.  Thirteen years of teaching ESL and I’ve seen a lot, dealt with a lot.

After trying to get out of the field last year it seemed prudent to stay in since nothing else in this economy was opening up.  Had some great self-confidence boosting teaching experiences that helped me to think maybe staying in the field wouldn’t be so bad.

Before the boy slammed the door we’d been in class.

Same old, same old.  He wasn’t doing a thing but squirming in his chair like he had a fever or something and couldn’t stop moving.  The listening was too hard for him.  And for most it seemed. ooops.  Their attention is waning.  Squirming in seats, sighing, talking to each other.

Can’t have them be bored for a millisecond.

He looks so angry all of the time.  I get it in a way. If i were in a country I did not want to  be  in learning something i did not want to learn – heck, I’d be angry too.

But he points his rage one way – at me.  All class, every class.

The others don’t have his anger (although some have some) but they, they don’t want to be here either. 

Slumping, sleeping, speaking their own firsr languages – over me, around me, everywhere.

It’s like whack a mole, another teacher said.  The classroom management never stops.

It can be demoralizing, said another, when you put so much time and energy into something and the students do not care.

Apathy.

Anger.

ENOUGH.

This is not what I signed up for.  This is not what I’m trained for.

Managing undiagnosed oppositionally defiant kids.

For some maybe.

It’s temporary – maybe through November.  Pay is good, better than any other school.

But I don’t know.

Back in the class before he slammed the door he’d had enough too.

He thought it made sense to shout at me.

ENOUGH, I said, COME WITH ME.  And he followed eventually, his rage cascading out of him as we walked to the manager’s office.

So angry I was shaking, i left him there.

Later, when the manager told me that the three of us would meet on Monday to smooth things over, I burst into tears.

Pent up stress.

The manager was okay with it but not that thrilled naturally.

I went into the washroom and cried some more.

Darn it.

This is not teaching. I know well for ESL teaching and this is not it.

I can’t just slough off the stress it brings.

My other class is better in many ways but still far far removed from what it should be. 

Another month.

yeah.

okay.

Do I want to pursue a Masters in TESOL?  I’ve been accepted at a real university that will really teach me entirely by distance ed.  I’ve known a few folks who work at UBC who have done it or are doing it.  Comme si, comme sa, they say.  8 courses, no dissertation.  The teaching is hit and miss.  The price – exorbitant.

I have 2 weeks left to decide.

Gonna breathe now.

In and out.

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How I seem to be wrecking my computer

2 Oct

Eeek.

Eeek.

And finally, eeek.

I am constantly and I mean constantly bumping into things – the corner of the bed, chairs, desks, etc.  My hands and legs flail around.  And so, a whole glass o water ended up on my laptop keyboard last night.

Now that laptop keyboard, it don’t work.

Crap.

Luckily, I have an external keyboard.  Er, that works, for now.  Things seem slower on the computer and kinda flu-ish, for lack of a better word.Eeek.  I’ve had this computer for just over a year and I’m not financially able to get a new one so hopefully this external keyboard will keep doing its work.

Eeek.

Also, I can never do a complete backup as it always fails.  However, I did manage to copy all of my files over to my external hard drive so that was good.

Eeek.

Last week I had an amazing 5 night stretch where I slept quite well.  Lovely, I felt almost human.  Now I’m back to not and it sucks like something that sucks.

So my new temporary teaching job.  I can’t say much on here because you never know who reads it, but suffice to say that I’m teaching 16 or 17 year old international students who a)were sent here by their parents and so often don’t want to be here at all b) don’t want to be in the ESL section of the school and c) are often immature.  You kinda get the idea.  “This job isn’t for all teachers,” my boss diplomatically put it after I went in on Friday stunned-ish and pulling out my hair.  Wee fan base, I’ve taught for 13 gulp years and this is the, uh, hmmm, least pleasant yet. 

“Any work in November?” I asked her at the end of our Friday conversatation.

She looked at me, quite startled that I would even want to.  “Perhaps,” she said.  Seems the school unlike other schools is busiest in the fall and winter.  I think it would be 2 hours or so a day but I won’t find out till the end of the month.  Nothing else is really happening so I may have to take what I can get.

Right now I teach 3 hours a day – 10-12, a two hour (unpaid break) and then 2 to three.  Then I stagger out.  Sounds like a simple and easy enough schedule but those who have ears, let them hear.  Tis not an easy gig. 

Oh!  My 8 week once a week evening ESL Business Writing class is starting on Wed. evening.  7-9:30, so with taking the buses, I will get home a wee bit late.  Uh well.  I have no idea the level of the students so should be, uh,  interesting.  I went in on Saturday morning (rode my bike!) and do osome copying.  Saturday mornings at Langara there is Mandarin taught for 1,200 children.  So there were lots of sweet Chinese women in the teachers room.  eeek. My punctuation marks are suddenly all messed up!  The apostrophe is not working right.  Bear with me.  I will have to go without. Really really it feels like my computer is dying, like I got water INSIDE the computer.  Oy.  I read online you can put your computer in a bed of uncooked rice.  Not gonna do that I will tell you.

I suspect the students – 9 or so of them – will be of varying levels.  Hopefully none have super duper English as I am teaching ESL, not actual Business Writing.  We shall see.  But kinda fun as I have taken continuing studies courses (not ESL obviously) but now actually get to go behind the scenes.

So 2 part time temporary jobs equals one part time temporary paycheque.

Uh well, you take what you can get.

Speaking of religion, the blogger of that Mormon blog is now moderating comments in that he deletes contentious ones.  This has nicened everyone up.  This makes it very boring for me.  Oooh, I did get into talking about Romney but that got shut down too.  Seriously though one of the commenters put, well, Romney wants to give people a hand up not a hand out like Obama.  Um, no, really, really that is what you think.  Uh, no.  No. NO NO NO NO NO.  But alas, no more political talk allowed.  Where is the fun in it if I cannot feel intellectually superior to these commenters I ask you.  I do note that they are mostly white and young and well-childed.

I googled last night, and I cannot put quotes due to weird punctuation right now, I googled, why am I angry and irritated all the time.  No real answers on that one.  It is annoying and exhausting.  I think it is how I manifest my mood but it is not a nice manifestation.  I have never been one to want to lie around all day and sleep as some do.  Hmmm. In fact, being around people helps me and energizes me and such.  I am an extorvert with the life of an introvert.  Now, wee fan base, do not get all concerned. 

That is all.

Off to writers group tonight where there wil probably be pie and maybe even chips!