[quote=“Okami”]I’m probably going to get blasted for this but here are my thoughts.
[quote]Just as a side note: this experience scared me away from the whole buxiban path. But I’ve since talked to some other teachers who said this is an unusual experience: just arrived in Taipei, they just threw me into a classroom with no preparation (never subbed or taught before), teaching a class of twenty 11 year olds by myself.
So anyway, this is one of the reasons I feel I need to be hardcore and strict, otherwise they won’t take me seriously…?
[/quote]If you’re going to be a teacher, then fucking act like one. That means no pussy footing around, you set standards and make the students understand they will be enforced, If you can’t enforce them get another job where you can or get out of teaching. I’m at a job where I can finally enforce some standards and it makes a word of difference in my view of teaching and on Taiwan. You can have fun and play games, but it either has to do with what you are teaching or to burn time to make your money.
At around 5th-6th grade, students get wind of how shit it all is and how they are supremely fucked for the most part. They are going to take that out on you. There’s no inquiry or discussion in any of their classes because with 30-50 students the teacher is not able to handle it nor would be trained to lead it. They basically know to shut up and grunt when asked a question. They barely are cognizant of their own culture so will have a difficult enough time dealing with you and your cultural values.
A lot is going to depend on the parents as they are your only back up. If they see it as play time, then you should too. If they don’t then they will help you enforce standards. This is what you need to find out.[/quote]
I agree with Okami.
If you’re going to be a teacher, act like one. First off, name the teachers you had from the 6th grade until high school. ie Mr. Miller, Ms. Johnson, Mr. Popodopolous, Mrs. Hinckley, Miss Smith, etc. Then as k your students to name their current group of teachers: Chen Laoshi, Wu Laoshi, Huang Laoshi, etc. Now what do your students call you? Becky? Do you see the anomaly? Use a title that students will respect. Sure, you’re going to have to earn most of it, but I’m sometimes appalled by the familiarity that unknown students assume with me. (“Hey, man!”) My own students know to call me “Mr.”
Next, what do you expect of your students? Language as a communicative tool must be actively learned, but students here will do everything they can to get away with passive learning. I’ve got a few rules for my students:
Always answer every question. English is preferred of course, but Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka, and aboriginal dialects are acceptable, as is French, German, Japanese, or any other language. Answering “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand” is also acceptable. Silence is unacceptable as is grunting, which is a favorite mode of response among Taiwanese adolescents.
Speak loudly and clearly. It doesn’t matter what language they’re speaking, whatever they say must be audible to the entire class.
Don’t use one-word answers. This usually requires a few practice runs: Me: Do you like your friends? “Yes.” Me: Yes, I do. Me: Do you like homework? “No.” Me: No, I don’t. They get the hang of it after a while.
- Be on time.
Bring the things you need to class. (books, pencil cases, etc.)
- Don’t be late.
Actually, the last three rules are fei hua rules but I throw them in to give the students some familiarity. Rules 1, 2, and 3, take a while to put into practice.
You might want to insist on students using some standard questions to make inquiries:
- I’m sorry, I don’t know.
- I’m sorry, I don’t understand.
- Mr. Kotter, what is (a) __________? (singular/uncountable noun)
- Mr. Kotter, what are ________s? (plural noun)
- Mr. Kotter what does __________ mean? (Used to enquire about pretty much anything else)
Once you have some attainable standards that students have to adhere to, you can get on with the business of teaching. The context is important, though. There are WAY too many teachers out there that try to coast on friendliness, familiarity, and “free talk”.