I have a night class full of students with a terrible attitude. Most of them come just to listen, and the class is two hours long. Just about any question is met with silence. If I push them to do any sort of speaking or activities beyond repeating vocabulary words or reading out of the book, they won’t come back to class.
I learned from a student recently, and I’d heard a rumor about this before, that students come to this class ONLY because they think I won’t make them talk. There’s another teacher with the same exact class at the same time as mine, and his students love to talk. My students are the people that went to his class, saw that they had to talk, and ran away to mine, basically to ruin it (Zombies outnumber non-zombies, Taiwanese hive mind (sheep mind?) goes into effect, previously talkative students now look at the floor all class with the zombies).
So… (I’m trying so hard not to ramble and rant here but I can’t help it.)
My students suck and won’t talk
Sometimes they do, a little, class is okay in that case.
Zombies from other class come to sit like zombies and ruin the class because people in Taiwan can’t think for themselves and the zombies make the other students silent because they have to follow them, or whatever nonsense causes this herd behavior.
I try damn hard to come up with activities and opportunuites for these “shy” students to talk. It works and they talk, but they don’t come back.
My class is now tiny (like 1-2 people) and I can’t really do activities due to lack of groups but these people will talk a little and show signs of life, even if they’re shy, so life is ok. They try. Kind of. I don’t expect huge conversations here, but TRY, do something… SOMETHING to show me that some gears are turning in your brain, even if it’s very slowly.
Zombies hear I’m not doing activities or just test the waters maybe and come back in and ruin class again. Sometimes zombies get bored because they sucked the life out of the class and they walk out in the middle. I can’t ramble about things for two hours and make it fun when nobody will laugh at a damn joke (the same ones that work great with other classes on the same lesson) or even look at me, you zombie idiots.
GOTO 4, repeat forever.
I learn (today) that the reason for all this is simply because they DON’T WANT TO TALK IN THE OTHER CLASS AND WILL NOT TALK IN MINE… they’ve decided this is the class where people don’t talk.
This class is 100% voluntary. They are not assigned to this class. They don’t lose money by not going. They don’t lose any opportunity (aside from time) to go to a different class. They can go to any other class they want to, or just not go to anything at all and the money is the same. They don’t have to pass it for any particular reason (there are no grades or progress tracking of any kind). They DO waste their time by coming and staring at the floor. There is a CD they could listen to for each lesson if they wanted to just listen. It has the whole damn lesson on it, explained fairly well from the few times I’ve listened to it. I see no reason for them to come to my class other than to learn my extra vocab/phrases/idioms that I’m pretty sure they don’t pay much attention to. What the hell do they want? They look at the floor if I try to talk to them. They won’t ask questions. They won’t answer questions.
I’m about at the end of my rope with these people. I really want to just start asking them to get the hell out of class if they won’t talk. I’m pretty sure this will just get me into trouble with the school, and my one problem class isn’t worth getting in trouble over.
My other idea is to just tell them that if they want to just listen, they can listen to the damn CD and I can save my voice. I have the CD, I’ll play it for them. They’re not asking me questions, they’re not looking up to even see my body language or what I’m writing on the board most of the time. They’re just there to try to eat my soul, I think.
The class is two hours long and if people have questions and are human beings and not zombies, that amount of time isn’t that bad. If they’re silent, then that is an eternity. I can make lesson plans that use up the time (not just use it up, but make them DO SOMETHING), but I’ll lose nearly every student if I do it, so they control the class, essentially.
I really do not understand what they want. I have a couple days to figure out how to deal with the next class without really losing my temper with these people. I’ve heard stories about the previous teacher having some problems with students, and also that he literally stormed out of the school in the middle of THIS class because he couldn’t deal with these people anymore.
I’ve put so much energy into this particular class that hearing that they’re just shitting all over my work with this attitude really pisses me off. I find it incredibly disrespectful and don’t want these people in my class and don’t want to waste my energy trying to HELP them if doing anything other than babbling on and on for two damn hours will make them leave the class.
The other part that burns me up is that I have private students knocking at my door but my schedule is too full to take them right now. I have people that WANT to learn… friendly people… EASY classes… hell, more money even… but I’m stuck with zombies with a bad attitude instead. Unfortunately those people can’t do classes during this horrible class or I’d just cancel it and teach them instead.