May 18, 2011 by k. liz
So . . . we have only one and a half weeks left before final exams! That’s crazy. This year has gone by really quickly. I am wondering about some of you other teachers out there, and how you deal with some of the following problems. I’m going to give you some of my reactions, but I’d love to hear some of the strategies that you have used or use presently! And, just to let you know up front, I’m still in my first year, so I have not really established my best strategies yet . . . so please cut me a little slack!!
1. Late Students:
My favorite strategy thus far has been to charge students for being late. But, I must say that after 7 weeks, and after racking up close to 50 TL, I am reluctant to keep taking money from my students.
I also sometimes just stare the student down, or ignore them altogether. Try to find a way to make them feel remorse for interrupting me and not considering my class.
Sometimes I ask the student a question as soon as they walk in the door to put them on the spot and make them sweat, hoping it won’t happen again. (I must say that this is a huge problem at my school, and I have not found a way to effectively combat it yet. It really stems from a lack of respect and the fact that they see no importance in learning English!)
2. Speaking the L1 in the classroom:
Honestly, I don’t have a good strategy to combat this yet, so please give me some suggestions!! I am still learning Turkish, so I cannot understand everything that they are saying, but I do understand a bit of what they say to me in Turkish, and sometimes I just force them to ask me in English and refuse to respond to them until they do so.
3. Not doing homework:
My strategy was to stop giving homework. Really, it was so discouraging to start every class with a lecture about how it is important to do homework, and try to find a system to manage everyone who did not do homework, that I decided it was better to have a profitable class with everyone working together rather than start the class angry and frustrated.
Seriously, I had a class whose only homework was this: choose a speech topic and write three questions about that topic. (10 minutes, right?) NOT A SINGLE PERSON DID HOMEWORK.
4. Refusing to work in class:
I know this won’t work in every class, but I have University students who really should be taking command of their own learning. This week, I have taken to just throwing out the students who don’t want to work. I have a handful that are really working hard and it is wasting their time and money for me to just stand there and argue with the stubborn students who think that it doesn’t matter what they do, someone will pass them anyway.
5. Not bringing books:
I sometimes charge for this as well. But, really, my students are happy to not bring their books if that means they will not have to listen and follow along. I know that when I was a student, if I didn’t have my book, then I was sad because I could not participate. That ideology is not very present here, so I have to buddy up my students or bring copies of the book to class. (I also have one my books on my computer, so I often project it onto the board.)
Otherwise, I will send my students out to find a friend who has the book and borrow it for the hour.
6. Asking to erase absences:
This is actually the reason I wrote this post! I have encountered this problem so much in the past few days. Our students are allowed 36 absences over the course of 7 weeks of class. They are in class an average of 30 hours a week. So, they can miss more than one week of classes. However, our students view that as “I have 36 times that I want to be on facebook, or I want to chat with my friends that I can sit outside in the hallway and just not go to class.” Then, when they feel ill, they come to class, try to make me feel bad for them, and sleep the entire lesson.
The recent problem is that on the weekends, students will come to me and tell me about a family emergency or a wedding, or a holiday, and they can’t go to their hometown because they have too many absences and if they have too many absences they will fail Level B, again. So, they plead with me, they try to tell me that other teachers will erase their absences, they say that they won’t talk to me if I don’t erase their absences, they try everything in the book. Sometimes, I am cheated out of my whole 10 minute break between classes because students are begging me to erase those absences. I refuse to do this! For two reasons: 1) Because of my integrity, and 2) Because I cannot keep track of the students I allow to once, and the ones I don’t!
The only time I have ever changed an absence was when I changed the time of the class, and a student legitimately did not know. But, I am getting worn down (I know, I only have a week left!) But, I am getting worn down, and I’m afraid I’m about to crack just to get the students to stop asking me!! What do you think?
So, what are you responses to these situations? What do you do? Or what are some other difficulties you face in your area of education. If I get a lot of responses, I will try to compile them into another post of ideas on how to deal with difficult situations in class.
Thanks ahead of time!