Friday, September 3rd
I’ve finished three weeks of model school and have one more to go! It’s hard to believe how fast it’s gone by. I was extremely nervous to begin model school, but have ended up LOVING it! Even with 60+ students in a class, I still love teaching. I’m not surprised because I’ve always considered becoming a teacher. I will definitely know if it’s the right choice for me after two years of teaching full time, but right now, I can definitely envision myself continuing to teach when I get back to the States.
Classroom management amuses me because I still feel so young and slightly bad. I was one of those kids who was always sent out of the class, moved to the front (or back) of class, on ‘steps,’ etc. I wasn’t a ‘trouble maker,’ but I was definitely a ‘distraction’ all through K-12. I just talk/talked too much. I got over interrupting around 9th grade, but I could never shut up. I thought as a teacher I would empathize with these students, because I know I didn’t even realize I was doing it a lot of times. BUT, I do not. I empathize with my old teachers and implore their forgiveness for being SO ANNOYING!! I still like these students because they are funny, usually smart and not like the malicious trouble makers (attention seeking boys), but omg, side conversations and blurting answers is REALLY annoying! Haha.
My favorite strategy for dealing with bad classroom behavior is embarrassment. For example, calling on students when they’re not paying attention and they can’t answer the question, changing students’ seats, or having them sit up front by me. Some teachers make their students stand in the corner of the room, facing the corner, but I haven’t yet had to resort to that.
For late students I haven’t really decided what I want to do in terms of punishment. I don’t want to send them home, but it’s really annoying when they come in late! (Sorry every first period teacher I had junior and senior year of high school). At post I won’t send them to the censure because they’ll be beaten. My school at least doesn’t use chains or whips, but they do use sticks/wood. One, I’m not morally ok with that type of corporal punishment and two, it’s actually against the law in Benin (but not enforced, anywhere). I think I may have them stay after class double however many minutes they were late, or write sentences. Hopefully my students won’t be late as much as the students in model school are, because students’ families will be paying for school. We offer model school for free, it’s like free English classes for redoublants (grade repeaters) and students who just want to improve.
When I get to post I will be teaching four classes. Three 6eme classes (like 6th grade) and one 5eme class (7th grade). Second semester I may teach 4eme (8th grade). My favorite grade to teach is 6eme because it’s their first year of English class (first year of l’ecole secondaire/middle school too) and they’re just funnier, cuter and they like singing and games!
PS: There are four grades in l’ecole secondaire: 6eme, 5eme, 4eme and 3eme. They all must take English, French, Math and Science, but they choose their 5th class, I think. It’s probably different in my village because of resources. I’ll let you know!