On being a shit teacher

It’s more important to know you are shit at something and work towards improving. For me this process is slow, because I am not often deft enough to catch these mistakes on time.
So let me set up the stage and see if you can find out where I fucked this up.
I took on a tutoring job from a flatmate who is currently back home in the US. The job involves trying to teach to two small children. I don’t know their ages (hell, I don’t remember their names without looking at crib notes) but they cant be older than 10.
They are children, and they act like children, but the money is good and the work is not terrible hard. What’s more, there is no metric of results by the parents, so as far as I am concerned I don’t have to try to hard. This isn’t just a lack of work ethic on my part; it’s actually complete bone headed cynicism. These two kids, however, would rather run around and play then learn anything from me.
Who can blame them?
Jokes aside, I try and sit them down and get the little fuckers to do their reading and do their spelling and understand something of what they are reading. It often doesn’t work, but I try and it kills the time.
Anyway, of the two kids the girl is the worse, but this is mostly because she is younger. She often just answers me in Chinese. Part of me thought she was being rude, until I figured out she genuinely wants an answer. So I explained to her that I didn’t speak Mandarin, and had to repeat it to her every 5 min since. Well, at some point while we were doing some reading she tried to comunicate something or the other to me and became extremely frustrated with the fact that I didn’t speak Mandarin. In very broken, but surprisingly fluent (in everyday speech, we use the word ‘fluent’ to mean ‘perfectly’. In linguisitcs, fluency is  a messure of the ability to put words together without pauses and breaks. You need fluency and accuracy to speak a language perfectly)  English; “Why you no speak Chinese!? Other teachers speak Chinese, all of them!”
Well, I wasn’t going to stand for that! I told her to sit down, open her book, and continue reading.
Ok, we can pause the game here and give you a few minutes to answer the following questions; A) what did I do wrong? B) what should I have done instead?
….
….
Got your answers? The student was obliged to address me in real, actual English, and she did so amazingly well for her level. As far as exercising language, nothing I could assign her would have done better. But I got arrogant, becuase this little child was disrespecting my authority, and shut her up, forcing her to do an assignment she wasn’t engaged in and would get nothing from.  I should have answered her questions and tried to continue the dialouge.
Fail. Won’t do that again though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s