Today was back to school day for me, teaching my 4 gymnasium classes, which is an easy and fun gig because it’s a good school and most of the kids are reasonably smart. A few are not quite as motivated as I would like, but I have taught so many classes (even a couple at that school) where the students were somehow perversely motivated to resist having a normal conversation and maybe accidentally improve their English a bit, that a simple lack of over achieverism, does not bother me.
Of course, the youngest class was brand new and I didn’t find anybody who doesn’t already speak of bit of conversational English. Then again, I wouldn’t have. The ones who can’t speak English just avoid speaking much and I can’t push too hard because it’s time-inefficient. I get these kids once a week for 45 minutes, I don’t want to waste it on kids who are being dullards.
I will always remember a piece of advice from a teacher before I became a teacher, who was explaining why he didn’t use red ink (not that I would refuse to use red ink, little boogers can be traumatized if their skin is that thin, but the principle holds): “It’s not as if they’re selling nuclear secrets to the Russians or something. So, they failed a test. It’s not a crime.
My back to school resolution (which hold a bit more weight for me than a New Year’s Eve Resolution) is to pay a bit more attention to that advice; to try and teach everybody but not to sweat it too much if they don’t learn.