Last October I saw an advertisement for a teaching assignment in ‘college’. Here we have elementary from 6-16 and then ‘college’ for 16-20. But it is not compulsory to attend ‘college’. I am allowed to teach both levels so I applied. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get it, it would be reserved for some friend or relative here in the county of Nepotism. To my amazement I was not just called in for an interview I was also hired!
It is the custom to hire first for a trial period. I know this. My mind knows this. But my stomach is in a knot. I’m afraid. I’m worried that they just ‘had to’ hire me because of my credentials but are trying to get rid of me so the ‘right person’ can get the job. Well, who can blame me?
I want to keep this job. I have been unemployed for two and a half years. I’ve been living on the benefits. But mostly, I love teaching. So I’ve been doing my best. I prepare until late in the evening. I am neglecting my family. But I want to keep this job. The salary isn’t great but it is better than the unemployment benefits. We can provide better for our kids.
To do my job includes teaching the students. Helping them to learn.
I don’t know the English words for this but we have intermediate courses (which give 3 units) and courses where we don’t go as fast. (Which give 2 units) I teach two 3 units courses and two 2 units.
The two 2 units don’t have very eager students. They hide behind their laptops, surf the Internet and chat. Constantly. My presence in the room is interfering with their Facebooking.
Being the new teacher, wanting to get along and please everybody I went to the teacher’s lounge and asked the other teachers what they did when faced with a situation like this. ‘We ban the computers’ was the answer. I returned to class the next day and told the students the computers were to be closed from now on. They went ballistic but that was to be expected. But two of the students claimed that they had special needs and they ‘had to’ use the computers, it ‘helped their studies’, they were ‘allowed’ and it was their ‘right’. OK. The counselor had made an appointment with me to go over the special needs students so I would be in the loop soon enough. No, that was not enough, one of them , who will be referred to from now on as The Student, claimed: ‘Go now and look this up’ he commanded. I refused.
Later that day the counselor informed me that these two students were indeed dyslectic and the use of the laptop helped them. Fine and dandy. No problem.
But as it turns out, students nowadays don’t own pencils or paper so I allow them to use their laptops on assignments. As soon as their laptops are in front of them they are online. They say no, but they are.
I want the laptops closed while I explain the topic of the day. It is very difficult. I am being very unfair. It’s like I’m cutting their life-line demanding them to stay off-line.
Sometimes I bring assignments on paper. I did that awhile ago. I was trying to do something diffirent, doing something fun. I was going to do this with them. The Student was very offended. He ‘can’t’ write on paper. It is his God given right to use the computer and I can not forbid him. And, since he was on the subject, he, the very dyslectic student, had looked up The Law and it was my duty, yes, I am Required by Law, to look up every diagnosis my students might have. He was not going to take this any longer and left my class and went to the principal to complain about me.
Great, I have such a great experience with principals supporting me L
But she did. She wants everything to go well and wanted me to settle this. And I tried.
This is long enough for now. To be continued...