Anyone who has worked overseas at an after-school cram school will tell you that to use the word ‘school’ is something of a misnomer. Yes, we essentially try to teach the children the rudiments of the English language but the majority of us employees are under no pretences. We are glorified babysitters and the desires of parents take precedence over educational concerns in every single case in order to ensure that the enrolment cheques keep flowing.
combine such a flawed system with bosses at the schools who often have poor English skills themselves, little to no experience of teaching and zero business qualifications and you have a recipe for frustration. Every day my fellow teachers and I want to smash out heads through the walls at the latest obstacle being placed in our paths while attempting to impart some level of knowledge (and maybe even critical thinking skills) to our students. Humour is the only escape we have, laughing at our situation and keeping on playing while the ship goes down. This is a record of The Boss’s finer moments, things he has said or done which should qualify him for the dipshit Olympics.
The situation: A kindergarten class of four boys aged around 5 or 6, a very tight-knit little group which has been together for a year. Enter Ethan, two years older than them, much bigger but with much lower social and English skills. He enters the class like a runaway train, disrupting the routine the kids have settled into and acting like he’s never met another human before. The students take offence to this. Come play time Ethan is shunned and, not knowing to bring a toy with him, is left with nothing to play with it. Tears ensue. We lack the ability in each others’ languages to resolve this. Telling the students to let him join in lasts only a few seconds at a time before Ethan does his ‘bull in a china shop’ routine and is freshly ostracised. I have no TA to help deal with this so have to ignore my other students to handle Ethan and make sure he returns to the class.
The boss’s response after I tell him about this in detail both verbally and in my course book? One sentence – “Teach them about sharing”. Really? That’s your nugget of wisdom? You honestly think that didn’t occur to me? Listen, these kids are learning English but their current level is “It is blue. It is red.” Jesus, if one of them uses ‘he’ or ‘she’ correctly I do a victory lap around the room. And you want me to ‘teach them about sharing’??? Seriously, you should consider getting a job more suited to your abilities, maybe cleaning the grills at KFC across the road.
More to follow…