Monday, December 13, 2010

the dreaded grade five class six...

I don't like Tuesdays.

It's not just because the weekend seems so far away.


It's because of one fifth grader.  I'm not even kidding.  I think he wants to kill me.

In fact... I KNOW he wants to kill me.

How do I know this?

The first time I had his class, he spent the entire class giving me the finger.  Every time I looked in his direction, there he was, flipping me off.  Whatever, I just let it go.

It never stopped.

He has a scowl that could freeze water on the hottest day of the summer.  He LOOKS at me like he wants to kill me.  All of the time.  He just leans back in his chair, and scowls at me.  It creeps me out, and honestly scares me a little.  One day, he even did the "I'm going to slit your neck" motion with his finger across his neck... while scowling at me.

I guess I deserved it... I told him to answer a question.

My co-teacher just gawked at me when I told him to read the answer to the next question... and then she whispered "but... Tara, he does not know English."

Well OF COURSE he doesn't know English, he bloody well talks through the entire class and disrupts everyone around him.  And then scowls and leans back in his chair when I yell at him.

I am afraid of a ten year old kid who is at least a foot shorter than me and probably weighs like 50 pounds.

I know he's super light, because I had to drag him and his desk across the classroom one day.  That's right, I dragged him in his desk across the classroom because he wouldn't shut up.  Then he started passing notes, so I went and stood beside him to get him to stop.  He didn't.  So... I dragged him and his desk outside of the classroom and slammed the door shut and left him there.

He's probably going to shank me, all of those kids carry exacto knives...


  1. That's pretty frightening... Is there any way you can just have him taken from your class? He obviously doesn't care... and if he doesn't care, why not open up that spot for someone who does?

  2. holy hell!! is there someone you can chat with about this kid?! because clearly something is messed up in his little 5th grade head! yikes! :/
    and i have to say, i got a kick out of picturing you dragging him and his desk across the room!!

  3. I've tried discussing him with my co-teacher, she just says he's bored because he doesn't like learning English.
    There's PLENTY of things I don't enjoy learning about, it doesn't mean I'm going to make threatening gestures at my teacher!
    There's really nothing that can be done, they can't remove him from class, because it's a requirement, and every single student in grades 4, 5, and 6 has English class twice a week.
    I had to kick him out of class today. I told him he could talk to himself out in the hallway.
    And, yeah, I admit, EVERYONE found it funny when I dragged him in his desk across the classroom and then out into the hall.

  4. I think it's best to ignore him. Don't even make eye contact. Don't ask him questions and just pretend that he's not there. There's no satisfaction in threatening you if you don't react. Sooner or later he'll give up. :)Good blog by the way.

  5. Ugh, I wish ignoring him actually worked... it's been eight months of him talking non-stop through class and distracting everyone around him. He talks so loud that I can hear him over all of the video clips and sound clips and everything. It's really out of hand, and the most annoying part is that my co-teacher does nothing! It's the fact that he's disrupting the ability of the students around him to learn that is really the most bothersome to me.

  6. I taught for three years in DC public schools. I had a kid last year who would lay limp whenever he was done trying. The best thing to do was to redirect his behavior. Not making him my special helper all the time, I wanted my other students to know that goodness is rewarded, but it got to a point where if he fell down in the hall after recess I would leave the dodge balls next to him, and tell him, without looking at him to put them in the closet. If I walked away right then he would get up and do it. Then sit in his seat quietly.
    Every child is different. But after working with him, I feel like my tool bag is huge. Have you talked about his home life with some of the other teachers? (It doesn't sound like the co-teacher was very helpful) Maybe his teacher from last year, an older sibling?
    Have you tried getting him to hand out papers or catch him being good? How much do you get to incorporate movement song or dance into your lessons?
    Any way you slice it, giving you the finger is not appropriate. He needs to be disciplined either with a call home or a trip to the office, however it is handled there. I'm not big into the school of "I'm the adult, thou shall respect me," but I am a person and no one deserves to be treated like that.

    Hope it gets better! Teaching is never easy...and here I was hating Tuesdays just because I'm tired.

  7. Ugh, that's really the hardest thing about teaching in Korea, is that, their home life is never discussed. As a teacher, it's none of your business, there's this attitude and basically an unspoken policy that "what happens in our house is none of your business," and if you try to say anything about it, you're a meddler, and no one takes you seriously. Honestly, I had this problem earlier this year when one of my sixth grade boys told me that his deskmate wanted to "suicide herself." I freaked out, and begged my co-teacher to do something, because the most I could do was to just ask her if she was okay, and if she wanted to talk... but the communication was so hard because her English skills were pretty low, and my Korean skills are ATROCIOUS. So, I just asked her all the time if she was okay, over and over again.

    Any efforts I've made to just ignore his behaviour and reward the good kids in the class, or to try to involve him in class have just ended in a big "fuck you" pretty much. I'm really just at a loss for what to do with him. Every other tough student I've had this year, I've managed to break through to them, I've had them begging me not to go back to Canada, but this kid... I'm just really at my wit's end. And it's especially hard because of the language barrier between him and I.

    I dunno, next week is potentially the last week I have with the kids, so it's just become a grin and bear it sort of situation... because apparently my co-teacher gave up on him even before I did. And I HATE saying that I had to give up on him, but, really, he has no respect for me or for the class... he just doesn't care at all.


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