This is my first long rant. I’m sorry to offend some readers but I have to get this off my chest.This is for all the under-appreciated teachers out there.
I got pissed off at my students today.
During class, we did an improv game called Lines game where players read a line they’ve never seen before and incorporate it into their scene. My students having never done this before, I gave them time to practice among their groups for 5 minutes. Then I went around facilitating and checking up on their progress.
Unlike my other classes who were always on task, this group apparently felt it was a total waste of their time. Some slept. Some decided to engage in a conversation involving the latest episode of a Korean soap. The others fooled around.
“Why aren’t you practicing?”
“What’re you doing?”
“We’ll get right to it.”
I felt I was the butt of a joke, a pathetic loser, a discarded doll dumped unceremoniously in the middle of the road. All my efforts were in vain. I had spent 3 hours coming up with 92 lines for this activity that had to be funny, easy and at the same time flexible enough to make into a dialogue (which even for me was a stretch) and another hour cutting them and folding them into separate sheets. I sacrificed a weekend and my writing goals for these kids because I wanted them to learn and enjoy themselves in class. If I wanted to be a lazy ass, I would’ve either let them read and answer the textbook or watch a movie. To hell with the learning strategies and student interaction!
So I exploded and they definitely noticed it. They shut up and proceeded to work only because I was already hurling rapid fire insults at them which I’ve never ever done before.
This is one of the ultimate downers of being a teacher. Your heart is in the right place. You work hard for these kids because you want to help them. You give them your blood, sweat and tears and what do you get in return? A jeering laugh. Loud snoring. Handouts you’ve painstakingly researched, compiled and designed to be easy to read crumbled and slam dunked into the wastebasket. A chorus of sighs and complaints that they were up all night playing computer games and getting drunk greeted you the minute you opened your mouth to start the three hour lesson you’ve spent 6 hours brainstorming and researching for, honing and streamlining it into a thematic flow, that complemented one of the language theories and at the same time was still based on the lessons of their textbooks. A lesson you spent another 6-8 hours making your own instructional materials, exercises suited to their level and a powerpoint presentation that’s both informative yet entertaining. Then they echoed mocking remarks when you pointed out some mistakes they made in their essays –essays you’ve meticulously marked for another 6 hours, all 127 of them and make corrections and even left some personal comments for them on which areas they need to improve on. Essays that gave you this massive headache because of their incoherent sentence structures, incessant ramblings that absolutely made no sense, chockfull of god-awful grammar and spelling mistakes that after you’re through with them, you have no idea what’s good English anymore, instructions that weren’t followed even though you repeated it hundreds of times and even wrote them in bold letters on the whiteboard but because they were too busy sleeping, talking or even touching up on their lipstick the “vital information” somehow slipped past them and now they’re complaining of a big fat ZERO they received on their 100 words single spaced work that’s full of typos and grammar errors that it showed it was clearly done in the last minute. And at the end of it all, those essays you’ve marked your ass off will still end up as tight little round balls in the trash.
Worse, there are organizations that back up these kinds of students. They don’t absolutely look after the welfare and quality of work these students are producing because they’re too concerned for the 5 figure paycheck they will receive from the parents’ pockets at the end of the year. Forget about becoming a shining beacon to guide the lost youth. Education has become nothing but a business.
Through all of these, I sometimes stop and ask myself, “What the hell am I here for?”
So don’t be surprised your teachers just skim over your reports now. Why they just merely open a book and drone on and on. The truth is they’ve been so hurt and rejected in the past by so many students that why even bother? You tried to warn Mary not to skip class and see that asshole Jimmy yet she did it anyway. Six months later Mary is showing a swelling belly and has dropped out of school. The next year you tell Johnny to quit hanging out with those shady bunch of kids from the other school. The next thing you know Johnny is in jail for drugs. You know you tried your best. You really went out on a limb for them and the same shit still happens year after year. Let them go. Let them go. Nothing you’ll do or say will make a difference anyway. Let them go and fuck themselves up and the world.
And you know, if you’ve got a teacher who’s unbelievably awesome, smart and really cares for your well-being, consider yourself blessed. He/she hasn’t been touched by disillusionment and hasn’t turned rotten to the core yet. Appreciate him/her for all the efforts he/she has given or I will personally go and hit you on the head for not doing so. Remember he/she is doing this for you. And if I were you, I’d go up to his/her desk and say the two simple words that would make a world of difference.
I’m not saying you should share this but if you’re suffering a massive guilt trip right now at having that hangover then I suggest you do the same to some other poor soul: