I kept making excuses for myself, for why I’ve given up on projects before I even got started, for why I couldn’t use time to write, for why I couldn’t make the videos I wanted to make or go exploring or do anything. But it’s largely been due to the fact that I’ve been spending a lot of time masking the fact that I’ve been quite unhappy and trying to cope with it.
Moving is something that always gets me; it takes so long for me to adjust to a new set of routines in a new place. The first month or two is usually spent trying to find things that make me feel comfortable so I have somewhere to go when I start feeling off, I can just go there and recharge. It’s taken longer, but I’m starting to get there in that respect.
But really, it’s been the job that’s been zapping my energy reserves; I’ve just been drained emotionally from doing something I’m not emotionally capable of handling. Most people know that I trained to teach secondary school and that I love that age group more than anything; it’s so easy for me to work with teenagers, and my colleagues should’ve seen that. I lose my patience much quicker with small children. I get so uncomfortable around them, especially when the tinier kids are touching me; I hate being touched without inviting it, but it’s only been me who has a problem with it. And I can’t teach them to not touch me because they don’t really understand personal boundaries; the world operates in generalities for many of my students who are under 5 years old, so not mass-hugging me or climbing in my lap at every given moment doesn’t really cross their mind when everyone else allows or encourages it.
This isn’t to say I hate small children; I like them just fine, but I prefer them individually. I have some students in my pre-school-aged class who I really adore because they are wonderful, and they are so sweet on their own. But I just can’t function without wanting to cry in the 20-minute break after that class; it wears on my nerves so badly, and it decreases my capability of dealing with the stress that the subsequent class will have on me. It even makes it much harder for me to tolerate the weird name-calling thing that some kids do. Names like “Teacher Bum Bum” or “Teacher Poo Poo” are essentially harmless to me, but they’re annoying after the 70th time that day. Small kids have a tendency to take the same joke and run with it for hours, and I can’t deal with that on a class-size scale.
I can’t handle the constant wriggling around, getting up and running around the class whenever they see fit; I can’t handle kids throwing sticky balls at my head because hahaha, it’s so funny. I can’t stand that children walk up behind me and spank me; I don’t enjoy the random elementary school boy who suddenly decides that Paper Scissor Tit-Grab is an appropriate game. I can’t handle the fact that kids pinch and pull the loose skin that I have from my excessive weight-loss; it hurts, even when I’m not infuriated by the assumption that I’m fine with being literally poked and prodded at all times.
I don’t like the fact that I generally have 10 different classes in a week, but I only see them once a week because I share lessons with my co-teacher. I hate re-teaching things because someone taught something incorrectly because it takes up the time that’s already being wasted by pointless rubbish, like the 20-minute portion of a lesson dedicated to romanising their address “into English” or teaching hyper-pedantic grammar points that many other English speakers don’t even observe, like the so-called proper use of can, may, or might. And I especially loathe the fact that the books act as if language never changes or that all English-speakers talk in the same way, so I get pulled up on “weird” pronunciations that no “standard American” uses or accidentally using British or Australian slang.
And it’s more that I hate it because it’s like we’re teaching that language can only be used one way because some crusty white linguists who wrote the national test say that it’s the only way. We actively discourage creativity in language in favour of boring patterns, co-teachers berate students for forgetting the -s on the end of singular third-person verbs, and people (mostly parents who hound the school) just push students through classes they clearly can’t handle because they don’t have a grasp on the basics. I fudge the numbers when grading because the failing point is so high (anything under 80) and the company literally told me to during training; I do it to keep parents happy. I guess I also do it to encourage my students to keep trying – at least, that was the justification I was given during multiple trainings – and keep them engaged in what they’re doing.
But that doesn’t happen. Only one class is legitimately engaged, and it’s because they spend two hours per day for four days with the same teacher. They have consistency because they are set on a routine that has been done since day one; the curriculum for that class is practically non-existent, save for some random reading books and a vague outline that never really makes sense. This allows their teacher, the only other Native Speaker at the branch, to have more freedom to make mistakes and develop his own class; they love it, he likes it, and they’re all really good at what they do. Those children are learning something, and he’s able to incorporate a lot of really fun things for them. He’s been teaching them programming, doing fun experiments every Friday, and took them on a trip to a fire station; they’re all learning language while doing things they like, so it has a lot more relevance to them.
You can’t say that for the rest of the classes because they legitimately feel like after-school babysitting, and we’re only using materials since the parents paid for them in the tuition package. There’s so much to go through, and none of it truly makes sense. Nothing engages with the interests of the students, so they have no incentive to learn anything; I can’t add anything because if I don’t do the pages I’m given, I’m seen as irresponsible (and the parents see this as a misuse of their funds to not do the bookwork, understandably).
And I’ve just been really unhappy doing all of this. I tried to hide it from the kids because many don’t deserve to be yelled at; I’ve been actively working on trying to be nice to my co-teachers, even when they do things that make me want to flip a table. And I’ve just lost most of the resources to even focus on projects I wanted to do.
But since I gave notice tonight, a weight has been lifted. I’m still remaining, but I’m switching into a job that will hopefully utilise my talents as a trained teacher. I’m hoping that they’ll let me be interesting and funny; I’m hoping that they’ll let me figure out what’s best for my students, going back to review or accelerating when necessary.
I’m just hoping to be a teacher again. I’ve missed it.
I used to find it agitating to be subjected to the music or entertainment preferences of people in public, especially on public transportation. It bothered me they would never wear their headphones to make sure that they were the only person enjoying their media, that it was a special moment between their chosen piece of music and themselves. I used to hate being made to listen to someone watch some sort of drama or over-the-top action film on my way to work, hearing the screaming sobs or the excessive explosions.
I don’t mind it now, though. In fact, I find […] Continue Reading…
I’ve wanted to write for months. Something, anything at all, I’ve wanted to put words to paper (or, in this case, words to a screen), but I’ve continually put it off. I have my excuses, which generally fall into a mixture of not knowing what to write about, not knowing how to express the emotions I’ve been going through, and a lot of laziness on my part. It’s hard to force myself to write something when I’m barely motivated to go about my day, which only seems to have increased since starting my new job.
That lack of motivation comes […] Continue Reading…
I’m alive, I promise. I just finished packing and getting my bags settled so that I can do some crazy excess-luggage checking and move myself back to the US for the next seven weeks. At the same time, VEDA started and has had me extra busy keeping up with the video-posting aspect. I’m glad, though; I wanted to do more video blogging. Everything is a bit over the top right now, so I’m trying to keep myself afloat; I’m trying to not stress out a lot, particularly as a lot of my plans went awry. That’ll get explained at […] Continue Reading…
So other than existing on Twitter and Tumblr, I’ve been pretty much hiding due to finishing my final semester of university. And planning to move twice. And just running around seeing people I adore. I’ve been pretty busy!
Rather than make a list of everything I’ve been doing, I figured I’d babble about them in a poor quality video because my real camera hates functioning. Apologies!
I babble a lot, particularly in this. The short of it is that I’m graduating twice, I got to see my best friend (mentioned x2) Kirsti before I leave, I eat a Golden Gaytime because […] Continue Reading…