Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beginning of Academic Year 2010

Leaving home at 5pm today, I shared the elevator with a 6th grade teacher.
"How was your first day?" I asked him.
He shook his head and said, "Terrible."

I nodded my head to indicate that I understood.

Today marked the first day of the academic year. The school and English system are completely different to last year and the previous year. Now I have three co-teachers.

KH will teach grade 3 and 4 with me.
JY will teach grade 5.
IK will teach grade 6.

In addition, I will teach Kindergarten as I've done before. This year I will also teach an adult class - an English class for teachers at my school.

IK has just come back from a six month sabbatical. This is the third year I'm working with her, so I'm used to her style - cold and serious.

I'll be teaching fewer classes than previous years, yet my workload seems to have increased. There are more demands and paperwork that needs to be done. I don't mind this. What I do have a problem with is that IK keeps telling me, "It's up to you, but I'd like you to..." when discussing about my lessons...especially classes I'll be taking alone.

I'm completely open to new ideas, but she doesn't seem to want to accept mine.

This afternoon, JY came to the English office to meet me so we could discuss our grade 5 lesson plan. IK was also in the office. She interrupted JY my conversation to say that she'd rather we focus more on the curriculum - OF COURSE I'm going to do that, but I also think it's important to teach them things like days of the week, seasons etc.

Then, she told me that we need to teach the alphabet - which I do ANYWAY.

IK said that the principal told her that there are some students in middle school (who've graduated from MY school) who don't even know the alphabet. 

WHAT? I asked her when she "heard" that and she said this morning.

I've said this before. I teach over 1000 (ONE THOUSAND) students per week. Each class is 40 minutes long. By the time the class settles and we get started with the actual curriculum, you can cut that 40 minutes down to 30 minutes.

I'd teach phonics, the curriculum work and other things. And getting a class quiet and/or reprimanding time eats into my TEACHING time. So how many minutes does a child have with me a week?

During my winter camp, when I asked a few students, "How are you?" they couldn't respond.

I feel so despondent.

When IK left the office, JY told me not to worry about what principal "said" because she has a reputation of fabricating stories.

Schools have just commenced. How can the English level of the new middle school students already have been assessed?...and the news traveled to quickly?

I live and work in an area that is not well off. Students have no motivation to study. Many were forced to come to my after school English classes. As a teacher, of course I want my students to learn something from me. Realistically speaking, all 1000+ students WILL NOT.

Hearing that some of MY students don't even know the alphabet does not have a good reflection on ME the English teacher.

This was my day.


DJ Damage (SA) said...

I think you have spent enough time in that country and maybe its time to consider relocating back home and find something here without all the drama.

Before you do that, make sure you have all the contact details of the peeps who make the choc chip cookies so they can send them down :)

Anonymous said...

i aagree with dj damage. you dont need to take nonsense from IK and the principal. please come home.
it is time you come home and be with family who love you.

Sheetal said...


Thanks, bro! Yeah, it was a shitty day today. Don't worry...I'll make a plan for all the snacks and gadgets ;)

Sheetal said...


Thank you :) x

Unknown said...

Sound like devil principal's plan to make you worried. She and IK are in same side, i can understand its difficult to teach in 30min time period, you cant, never look after your students in that time. Ask for double period for a good result. If this continues, then i am fully agree with dj and anon :) Take care...