A Novice English Teacher’s Frustration About…

“Shocked” is the perfect word to describe what I am feeling right now. Let me explain…

For some reason, in one of my Junior classes, we are ahead of schedule with our class material. Because of that, I opted for a fun and competitive activity with this small class today. The activity: whoever writes a sentence with proper grammar, proper use of the word(s) given, and correct spelling, shall earn points. Ten points respectively for each action done correctly. The prize – a 2016 planner. Otherwise, everyone shall receive a choco-pie (really delicious stuff, I tell you).
Also, because I am an English teacher and I’m trying to encourage these kids to stop speaking Korean in class, I deduct 50 points for each time a student decides to speak in Korean. I know, it’s drastic – but with these kids, it’s necessary.
So the game began. Many were tied, and yet are sweetly improving their creative writing. Time came up for the the class to end and suddenly, the only boy in the class spoke in Korean. Minus 50 points. 
Before I continue, let me give you a little bit of background about my relationship with these kids: we are chill. I joke around. They joke around. We get the work done. It’s a good day. All in all, I trust them until they give me a reason not to (like the other day, I allowed them to watch a video on the premise that it was related to the material and that it was going to be in English. It was related to the material – air pollution – however, it was a short animation in Korean. Figures). Bottom line: we chill.
However, I’m currently unsure about whether or not I should trust these kids anymore. This recent action has led me to believe that they think I find everything to be funny and I cannot be taken seriously. Well, you see, the student whom I just deducted 50 points from for speaking Korean, decided that it was funny to steal the prize and run out the door. The whole class thought it was funny and laughed right out the door. I was hoping that the thief would run back and return the item within a matter of minutes. But he didn’t.
Shocked. Disappointed. FRUSTRATED.
Which then leads me to ask this question:
Should teachers also be responsible in teaching children morality in the classroom or should we just leave that responsibility to their parents or guardians?
As a foreign teacher, it is advised that when it comes to situations such as disciplining, I should just leave it to my Korean co-teacher because of the cultural and language barrier. Easy. But now it leaves me with another situation – RESPECT. If I leave it to my co-teacher to solve the issue, how am I to create an environment of respect – not only for myself, but also to each other?
As for now, I don’t know. It’s a matter of continuous prayers and of me and my co-teachers to collaborate what the next best step should be.
They say that this younger generation doesn’t understand and practice respect as much as the older generation. I hope that immorality isn’t added into that list.

Author: missarve

I'm a storyteller.

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