I enter smiling.
I leave ten years older.
2D. Everyday after leaving their class, I'd sit back and stare into the air, thinking of how and what i could possibly do to manage them. They are a handful. No, I take that back. They are a hundred handfuls! (If that makes sense). I'm too tired to write a detailed story on them, but here's a few details tat might help you picture what they're like:
1. They walk on the desks. Yes. When I'm in class. I can't chase them around in case they trip and fall. They're nimble too. They run around on the desks as if it's what they do everyday. Wait. They do do it everyday.
2. One boy (WMDA) treats me like... well, like I'm not his teacher. He hangs on to my hands as if they're branches. He just will NOT listen to what I say. He likes to pretend that he's sick and exaggerates and puts on acts all the time. Sometimes it's funny. At times.... arrrggghh!!!! His books are clean as slates. He has done any work at all. He cheeks me.
3. One girl (H) is a bit strange. Some teachers call her 'special'. Well, some of the special things she's been doing in my class:
- going through my stuff without asking for permission
- walking on the desks, and running away from me (nimbly too!) when I try to catch her. I'm just afraid that she'll fall and hurt herself.
- following me around after class, and when I tell her to go back to class, she sticks her tongue out at me
- these few days, she's been dabbing paint on her hands and going around trying to dab paint on everyone else. One day I caught her going around the class, intending to dab blobs of paint on every desk. I caught her before she managed to complete this interesting ritual. Every time she dabs paint on her hand, I have to drag her to the toilet and help her clean them off, because she also puts them on her lips and I'm afraid she'd swallow them. She gets paint on her clothes, tudung, kain. She seems to enjoy the ritual of dabbing paint on her hands and having me to take her to the toilet to help her wash them. Every time we go to the toilet, half the class would tag along. This morning, I ended up singing "This is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands" with them. At the girl's toilet.
- She hasn't quite developed... well, any embarrassment. She lifts her kain, showing her (thankfully) shorts underneath. Thank goodness for her shorts. She keeps pulling off her tudung too.
- For the most part of my classes, I run after her. During the last fifteen minutes or so, after I've manged to 'catch' her, I'd make her read or write or do something, and she does them all surprisingly well.
4. As soon as they see me come in, they'd either ignore me or start running around. They shout, kick each other, jump on the table at the back of the class, play with the brooms, and they find it fun to kick just about everything they can get their hands on. Crushed tin cans (new ones everyone I enter), bottle caps, erasers, even crumpled up paper.
5. There's no table for the teacher in their class. instead, there's this trolley with a vase on it. Today, they climbed up ad began pushing each other around.
6. While I'm teaching or looking at some pupil's work in front, half the class is either running around at the back or running in and our of the class.
7. I've tried the Silent Treatment. Only worked for a few minutes. I've tried shouting, scolding. They're not afraid of me. I try coaxing, bu I have to do it pupil by pupil. It works, but while I do it, they others kick up chaos around the class.
8. Nearly everyday, at least one kid will cry. They don't cry silently. It's usually an all-out, I-want-everybody-to-know-that-I've-been-wronged sort of crying.
And yet, even with all that, I still want to find a way to make them interested to learn. I've found some to be such sweethearts, and in the two weeks that I've been with them, most have started doing their work. They still run around and fight, but at least I go back with books filled with some written work. At least I know that a few can read. They're just kids, most come from difficult family backgrounds. They need my help.
I didn't write all of this with the intention of complaining. I just want you to know that being a teacher, especially when you're just starting out, is not easy. If you're going through difficulties in managing your class, know that you'e not alone. Know that other teachers face problems too. Know that you will one day work them out, though you may have to work (really, really) hard to do it.
I have such a long way to go. I don't know how I'll manage to cope with 2D but for now I won't stop trying. I want people to stop saying, "2D? Ahh... they've always been like that." "Unmanageable." "Hard to get through to." And the lot.
*collapses in exhaustion
Remembering You in Between
4 years ago