When I wrote my last post I was angry, but I’ve recovered now. I invited students to come and speak in my office when they have the time, even if they did not get into English club. I really want to keep a space open for anyone who wants to practice English. I tried something new this past week too. Writing letters has crossed my mind before and I really wanted to drive home the message that I need my students to work with me. I wrote letters to two head teachers. Though I knew where their office was (they shared one), I chose to pass them on through my liaison. I wouldn’t be able to translate as well if my intention wasn’t clear to them. One letter outlined one class’s poor grade and my growing frustrations. I conceded that I had made mistakes, but needed them to work with me. The other letter I wrote because I also had a very good day with another class. They probably deserved to know what made me happy as much as what frustrated me. I have focused on handling misbehavior but neglected to address its opposite. My students were in this vacuum where they knew I was frustrated, but didn’t see much in return for their other admirable efforts and behaviors. I was happy when I heard the head teacher was extremely proud and made a point of reading my letter to all his students. They earned it.
But I’m also a little embarrassed. My liaison brought my letters into her classes to talk about how students should behave themselves. While I appreciate the learning experience derived from these two letters, I never meant to send them around school. I didn’t want to broadcast my kids’ day. I wanted them to know what wasn’t right, I wanted their head teacher to know what happened, and I wanted us all to move on. That class was the only one who needed to know and change themselves. I imagine that hearing that another class earned themselves a glowing letter would do its own work through word of mouth. Otherwise, it frankly wasn’t the business of other students to know that I was struggling with another class.
I made sure to tell my liaison that I was a little embarrassed because those letters were never meant for anyone else (though I am happy that she had a well-behaved class after going over those letters with them). She said she hadn’t really considered that part of it. And maybe it’s natural to just take something that catches your eye and make it public in a time of social media and lose sight of certain privacies. I myself am guilty of writing about my students and I’m not sure how they’d feel if they saw some of the things I wrote (though it’s those things that keep me going). I do try to keep them relatively anonymous. I’m looking forward to a better week this upcoming week.
I'm a 3rd year WorldTeach volunteer.