Skip to main content


As I teach more and more I realize how I'm not really cut out for the job of teaching little kids (or Young Learners as they call them). Today the Grade 5 and 6 just had me at the end of my rope. Every time I turned my back they were shouting and hitting each other, and my system of punishment (where I write their name on the board as a warning, and give them check marks if they keep talking, each check meaning two minutes after school) just didn't seem to have an effect. By the end of class I had probably 3/4ths of the kids up on the board. The really bad ones (with 3 or more checks) I made sweep the classroom after school was out (which ended early because most of the teachers left).

One of these bad kids skipped out of the class while I had my back turned, which made me so angry I about lost it. The remaining ones swept in a self-pitying and sullen manner, throwing around desks and chairs, whining about how they were hungry and tired they were. They didn't seem to be learning a lesson from this, either.

They'd say, "Me, I'm tired and hungry."
I'd say, "Well, maybe you shouldn't talk in class so much."
"Mister, it's not fair! They all went home already!"
"They weren't being so noisy in class."

Then back to half-assed sweeping. After they destroyed the room moving the desks around, I made them tidy it back up again, putting all the desks and chairs back where they were. At this point one of the grade 6 boys made like he would slap me. I'm not sure what I would do if that actually happened. I wish I could say I would remain calm, but I'm not sure. I think I would probably lose my temper. I hope I wouldn't knock him across the room.

Something about the formal teaching environment plays to my weaknesses. I'm pretty good in small groups and one-on-one, but with a whole class of fidgety little kids I'm just terrible. Gotta keep trying, though, at the end of the day all this is my own fault. If I were a better teacher, I wouldn't have these problems--therefore, it must be a matter of technique, which hopefully can be learned. I'll keep experimenting.


  1. Its scary how similar that experience is to mine. Down to the complaints they make about being hungry and tired. It is frustrating as hell.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

The Basic Instinct of Socialism

This year I finally decided to stop beating around the bush and start calling myself a democratic socialist. I think the reason for the long hesitation is the very long record of horrifying atrocities carried out by self-described socialist countries. Of course, there is no social system that doesn't have a long, bloody rap sheet, capitalism very much included . But I've never described myself as a capitalist either, and the whole point of socialism is that it's supposed to be better than that. So of course I cannot be a tankie — Stalin and Mao were evil, terrible butchers, some of the worst people who ever lived. There are two basic lessons to be learned from the failures of Soviet and Chinese Communism, I think. One is that Marxism-Leninism is not a just or workable system. One cannot simply skip over capitalist development, and any socialist project must be democratic and preserve basic liberal freedoms. The second, perhaps more profound lesson, is that there is no s

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves that