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.




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.



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.

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

  1. Tammy November 14, 2012 at 5:24 am #

    What is TESOL?

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