Monday, October 09, 2006

The Lesson From Hell

I'd had misgivings about this lesson from the moment I'd heard about it. The school down south's previous owner had let 3 siblings (aged 6, 10 and 11) attend the same lesson, with their mother sitting to one side. And to top it all off, they were, and still are, paying peanuts.

OK, so the first lesson or 2 had gone OK, enough to get me familiar with just how to cater to their 3 different levels, plus an interfering mother. However, Thursday night's lesson was a real shocker.

It started reasonably well, with the promise of a game at the end of the lesson ensuring the 6 year old knuckled down to work on a worksheet, together with his mother. As I reviewed some basic verb exercises with the other two, I tried my best to keep everyone happy, occasionally taking a peek at the 6 year old's sheet and helping him out. But every time I went back to the other two, the littl'un would grab my hand, way too firmly for a 6 year old, pulling me back in. After being a little firm with him in return, he then grabbed my face with both his hands to point me back in his direction (we're all sat at the same largish table). I laughed this off at first, but after he pulled this trick again and then again, I was about ready to slap the little shit. Did his mummy have anything to say? Did she fuck.

Anyway, the other two siblings were going through a quick test of the verbs we'd gone over, but the 10 year old's whining, and then actual bawling, because his sister was doing the test a little faster than him, was starting to really wind me up. In the end I had to move on to the game because everyone was getting upset, pencils were being prodded in arms, and interfering mothers were doing absolutely fuck all. Oh, no, sorry, she was doing something - she was correcting me for translating the word 'joy' wrongly in Hebrew - I'd used simcha and she corrected me with ahana. I still think she's wrong, but hey...

Well, game time came, and after getting a warning from me that if anyone broke any of the game's pieces, I'd break them (yes, really, those are the words I used, mother or no mother), they decided to go ape-shit. Dice were rolled all over the room, pieces thrown at pieces...and then the little 6 year old decided to slam his fist on one of the pieces. I looked at him and his mother and said: "Right, your game is over son!". And he went fucking mad - running around the classroom, bawling hysterically as he tried to grab more pieces from the game while trying to evade his mother as she tried to grab him. The lesson ended in a mass of tears, bawling and confusion.

I just sat in the class after they'd gone and said out loud: "What the fuck was THAT??".

OK, so I might not be perfect at classroom management, but surely this interfering mother is undermining any chance of authority I might have. For the price they're paying (I dare you to guess), it's really not worth my trouble. And if the mother insists on being there and correcting everything they and I do, why bother with paying for a teacher? I have a feeling this class might have to go take a leap...and mightily quick...