I had an awful day today 😦

Today was a little nerve-wrecking because a second observer might be coming to see me teach. (Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going for the A, so I shouldn’t have a second observer, but………it’s a long story. So in short, I am now going for the A—not really much of a choice—and Dr. H is supposed to come and observe me and Sun in these two days.)

I didn’t have class on Tuesday and Wednesday according to the new timetable, so I had to take some of the periods from other teachers so I could enter 1 Buck to teach them. I tried very hard to adjust the time, but unfortunately, the most convenient time for today was their two PE periods—which I felt really bad about, knowing how much the boys really loved PE. 😦

I didn’t have time to explain to them last week, because our Thursday and Friday lessons were postponed, due to the Sports Day practices. The only way I could inform them was through our Facebook group, and not many actually check there often, I suppose.

So, I was going to enter their class after recess today. I went to the class just before they took off for recess to talk to them, and request that they come back to class on time, please. Just in case Dr. H comes.

They were all crowding around me after their teacher left, and I told them the news. Some of the boys, who obviously had not known that their beloved PE periods were going to be taken, immediately reacted: “Alaa, apa lah Cikgu ni!” “Cikgu ni, kenapa ambik masa PJ?!” and their faces showed, very clearly, how displeased they were about the arrangement.

I don’t exactly know why, but I got very angry. I was practically begging for their help. >.<

And besides, is that the way to talk to a teacher? I was already feeling very bad for taking their PE periods, but if I had any other choice, I would take it >.<

I quite angrily remarked that this would be my final week here and that after this, I will never kacau them again. That this would be the LAST favour they would ever have to do for me. Would that be fine with them?

I was really upset with what they had said, and how they had reacted. It’s not like I was doing this for fun. It’s not like I have nothing better to do than to steal all their periods and enter their class. It’s not like I want to enter their class that badly, anyway. >.<

I was so mad when I told Sun about it. But after a while, I felt bad for scolding them. It was their initial reaction to finding out their favourite time of the week was taken away. I guess I can get that. :/ But that still does not excuse the way they spoke to me. And I just didn’t like the way they made me feel, when I just had the very best of intentions, and even the decency to feel bad for taking their PE periods 😦

But you know what was worse?

How they were in class. They showed me, unabashedly, how unhappy they were about me taking their PE. They were uncooperative, noisy, disrespectful. Every few minutes, they were walking around the class and doing their own thing without bothering about me, standing in the front trying to conduct a decent lesson! I had to keep going, “Hamzah, can you please sit down?” “Amir, why are you walking around?” “Haris, SIT DOWN!”

It was frustrating! They would give me this, this……face, and then ignore me! It was tiring, and…….hurtful. I felt that I had no respect from them whatsoever. It was very painful to realize that.

Anyway, I tried to teach, but kept hearing students talking in the background. I had some nice activities planned for them, but it was so difficult to carry out! >.<

What I had planned for this lesson was, to be able to write short wishes/greetings in a get-well card. So, for the input part, I gave them the five parts of a simple get-well card that I analyzed from a sample and came up with myself:

1. Greetings: eg. Dear…….

2. Sympathies: eg. I am sorry to hear about/that…

3. Wish/Advice: eg. I hope you get better/recover soon! or You should be more careful next time/rest more and drink lots of water.

4. Parting comment: eg. Hope to see you in school soon! I’ll come visit you sometime!

5. Sign-off: eg. Sincerely, Lisa (signed)

So, after writing this on the board and giving them more examples, I told them to fill in their worksheets with the appropriate sentences, referring to the ones we had discussed on the board.

For the next activity, I thought it would be fun for them to draw lots to get a cartoon character to whom they would “write” a get-well card to—which they will present orally. They have to make sure they have the 5 parts of a get-well card. And they can make it as creative/funny as possible! For example, if they drew the lot for Popeye, they could say something like, “Dear Popeye, I am sorry to hear that you have come down with the flu. You should eat more of your favourite spinach! Hope to see you soon. Sincerely, Lisa.”

Each volunteer would receive a small reward—sweets! 😉

The boys were excited to volunteer and try out, which was good 🙂 And they seemed to be able to do well, though they kept referring to what I had written on the board. Maybe I should’ve erased it off. But I didn’t want them to be left completely on their own either :/ Anyway, things were going well. The boys were doing great, then I had girls to come up and present as well. They were shy, and their voices were too soft, but they knew what to say too 🙂

Still, there were many of them still walking around and doing their own thing, or talking and not really paying attention to what others were presenting that I had to keep shushing them and walking around to stop the noisy ones from talking. It’s so very hard to concentrate, have you ever felt that? >.<

It was then that Ezzul, the monitor, came up to the teacher’s table and just said, “Teacher, I want to go to the toilet. I want the pass.” I was annoyed because quite a number were walking around and not really focusing on the lesson, so I told him NO and to sit down first. Do you know what he replied to me?

Alaa, Cikgu. Pergi tandas pun salah ke?

And believe you, me. It wasn’t in a very nice way. It was in an irritated, angry tone, complete with angry frown and hand gestures.

I was furious. Is that the way you talk to a teacher?

Honestly, it was very hurtful. I scolded him, saying that it wasn’t the first time he had talked to me in such a disrespectful manner, and I was tired of it. I asked him if he talked that way to other teachers, he said no. So what was so SPECIAL about me that he has to talk to me that way? Treat me this way?

It’s not like I want to demand respect, but tell me I don’t deserve to be spoken to in a civil manner? Tell me I don’t deserve to be treated with some common courtesy?

And it’s true; they don’t treat other teachers like that, but they do to me? Why? WHY?

I felt the tears coming. I handed him the pass without another word. Tried to take deep breaths without making it too obvious that I was about to cry.

Thankfully, Rayymond had paused earlier when I was scolding Ezzul, but had resumed his presentation the moment Ezzul had left with the pass. So I had the opportunity to jump right back in. :/

Lesson resumed. After half an hour of that, I gave them coloured paper and asked them to create a get-well card for a friend, or even one of the cartoon characters that came up earlier during the presentation. They could cut, colour, design the card however they like, and write to whoever they like, whatever they like, as long as they made sure that the message had the five parts that we had learned earlier.

I was glad for this activity, because students were more quiet as they worked on their cards. And I also liked the fact that it gave some of the more artistic+creative students a chance to shine 🙂

Lesson-wise, I think I was able to give them enough input on how to write a get-well card. Even more than was provided in the PBS worksheet. From their presentations, they seemed to understand the five parts of a get-well card we had learned, which is great. However, I think I should have erased the notes on the board so they had no choice but to depend on themselves. My rationale for leaving the notes on the board was as a form of scaffolding. I guess it just occurred to me that I could have erased the examples, but left the main skeleton on the board! Silly me! =.= Anyway, they seemed to enjoy the presentation part, as well as the creating-cards section.

But I can’t shake off the feeling that my students don’t treat me with enough respect/politeness. Sometimes, I think that they genuinely don’t know they are being rude/disrespectful. Sometimes, it’s because they’ve been allowed to get away with it for too long. To be fair, not all of them are like that. Most of the girls are fine. It’s just, some of the boys…. >.<

I was quite hurt today by their behaviour. I didn’t know how badly until I felt tears welling up. Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill. Or maybe, it’s the cumulative effect of having been treated this way the entire time I’ve been here.

It’s already my last week. I thought things would get easier. But it seems that I still lack control over my class. And because of that, I feel that the lesson I conducted today was a failure not in terms of content, not in the delivery, but in the extraneous factors—class control. If I could control my class better, there would be less distractions and those who really want to learn, can truly learn and receive the full input.

I can’t help feeling like I am a failure as a teacher. It reminds me of my 2 Gem days, when some of the good boys had told me that they felt like they couldn’t really learn properly in class because of some of the problematic students who disrupt the class. I should be able to control these students, and I have to learn to control them, for the sake of the other students. Basically, I control the learning environment in the classroom. Seen that way, when I don’t, or can’t control these difficult students, I am failing the rest as a teacher.

Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a teacher. 😦

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