Monday, 2 April 2018

Students fought in my class today

I'm currently teaching two different Form Four classes English - one class is the more obedient type that is very used to following instruction and won't respond much when I throw a question, and the other class is more pro-active but talkative in class. The students' proficiency in English from the obedient class is okay, not super weak but they do struggle in understanding some concept and make a significant number of grammatical error - but they're a lovely bunch. The more pro-active class' students have a slightly weaker grasps in English mastery, but they are a cooperative and enthusiastic bunch.

I really enjoy being in the pro-active class (let's call them class B) - because I don't feel like I am talking to myself (I really feel like I am talking to myself in the obedient class (let's call them class A), but nevertheless, I still love class A! Just that I wasn't too sure whether I am perceived well in their class because it feels one-sided at times).

So today, I decided to give them a group presentation work about "Complaints You Have About This School". The objective of this presentation is just to let the students have fun, rant a little while practicing English, and in the next lesson, reuse their points and make them write a formal letter to their principal to address these complaints :D

Things were going on fine - class was abuzz with discussion, students were asking questions and so on. One group of boys finished early, so I asked them to present first and they gladly went to the front of the class, brimming with confidence.

All was well - until one of the boys (the ketua tingkatan, let's call him B) brought up about a complain about one of their classmate - their penolong ketua tingkatan (assistant class monitor).

They called her a "show-off" and "arrogant" person.

And the assistant class monitor, let's call her H, burst into tears and scream, threw some stuff, banged the white board, and stormed out of the classroom.

I tried to console her at that time but her emotions were clearly unstable, so I asked her friends to accompany her to the toilet.

Back in class, students were upset - some of them were upset because they feel that the students shouldn't be so blunt.

"Teacher is not going to scold you all, you all are adults already. Teacher just want you to think about what you have done....and why she (the girl that stormed out) is upset."

"But teacher, we really don't like her!"

"Think about it, if someone, or a teacher, scolded you or made a remark to you in class like this will you like it?"

*Silence*

"Teacher really want you to think about it....now what can we do to make the situation better? She is upset and hurt."

*More Silence*

"When teacher asked for respect, I am not just asking you all to respect me. I want to respect you all too, and I want you all to respect each other."

Then the girl came back from the toilet.

"Teacher let's just move on with the lesson!" some students suggested.

So I went on asking them, what did the group of boys did well, yes they were honest, they introduced themselves, they spoke loudly etc. etc. And someone mentioned something, that triggered H and H started crying and shouting in class again.

Then B stood up, and shouted "CAN YOU PLEASE RESPECT TEACHER, SHE IS STANDING HERE IN CLASS" (Bolding this because he was really shouting at the top of his lungs)

"That's enough, B. It's alright already."

Then H shouted something and stormed out of the classroom. Sent the girls to console her again. Typing this rather monotonously because I don't know what to feel at that time.

Moved on with the lesson giving them a talk about mistakes, and how we're human, and how we all make mistakes it is okay, just learn from your mistakes. See how monotonous this paragraph is.

And it is the end of school. *Even more monotonous sentence*

Students left. Asked B to stay a while. Wanted to understand what was going through his head. B said he no longer wants to be the class monitor. Couldn't talk to him longer because he had to catch his transport home, but his two friends offered to explain their class' situation to me. They explained their side of their story, telling me why they don't like H.

"If you don't like a particular behavior, then don't learn it. Let's say if your friend always scolds you, do you like it? No right, so don't do it back on him!"

"But teacher.....*goes on telling me what H has done*"

"Teacher is really sad. Teacher just want you all to have fun today and learn English, but you all ended up fighting."

"Nooo teacher! We love you, but we don't love her"

"Okay never mind, just go home and think about it okay...you all are adults now and I believe you all will make responsible decision."

Felt rather drained for the rest of the afternoon - conducted extra classes for a form 4 student and a form 5 student after that, felt bad as I feel like I couldn't give my 100% because of my mood.

B's friend texted me and apologized for their behavior in class after that. I told them (again) I am not upset or angry, but I just want them to respect each other and also listen when I teach and he replied:

"Teacher we respect you...but we don't respect her."


Entering their class tomorrow, I wonder if it is better to just leave it, or address it. One thing for sure I'll try to talk to B and H personally (and separately). Hope it will go well....
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