It was my last day today teaching at the elementary school near Haje, and two of the classes didn’t go badly. Last day before the summer break, that is, and I do hope I get asked back next year.
But, the first of the 3 classes did not go well. They are 2nd graders, 7 years old, so it is always a struggle. Not so much teaching them English, although that is certainly a struggle. They keep asking me stuff in Czech and I answer as best I can, for a few minutes, before reminding them that it’s an English class. That’s the thing. They don’t get that it’s a class at all. The idea of a time period where they’re actually expected to sit in a chair and learn something is foreign to them, and I kind of feel that if I can teach them that, I will have accomplished something, although it’s really not part of my job description. I don’t think. There really is no job description.
Anyway, there were the 3 girls on the left, who always ignore me, and the kids in the middle, clamoring for attention, and N. and A. over on the right. Normally, they like me just fine, but N. felt she was being ignored because other kids were shouting out the answers and winning all the cards, so she got out of her chair and sat on the floor under the table. I tried getting down to her level, giving her first shot at the questions, putting the flashcards right in her face, and she ignored me. Then A., in solidarity, joined her.
After that game, I decided it was story time (Curious George, one of my favorites), and asked all the kids to sit in the front of the room. Some sat on the floor, some hauled up the bean bag chairs from the back of the room, and N. and A. decided it would be funny to hijack the teacher’s chair, as I wasn’t sitting in it anyway. I wouldn’t mind, but if they do it, everybody wants to do it.
So, I picked up N. bodily and put her down on the floor. (A. was not the problem. She took the hint. Then N. got back up and started drawing on the blackboard while I was reading. I sat her down again and by this time I was ticked off, so I held on to her wrist to keep her in place while I read the book. Maybe a little too hard, because after that she was rubbing her wrist for the rest of the class, and A. was massaging her with a little fluff toy and they were both giving me really dirty looks for the rest of the class.
I felt justified, but she is a tiny girl, and I didn’t mean to hurt her, and I probably could be a bit more positive and creative (a bit more Miss Honey and a bit less Miss Trunchbull), but the year is over and this day is chalked up to experience.