It finally happened. I reached my boiling point today. Three times.
My classes have been getting worse each week; I assume it’s because they are getting comfortable with me and because I’m being too nice. All three of my high school classes were terrible. In my first class of the day (my third worst of the week), a kid turned around in his chair, faced away from me, and played a game on his friend’s desk. I told him to turn around, and he said something to me in Korean. All of the other kids laughed when he said it. The coteacher translated for him: “he say you wait and he finish soon.” Those of you who know me (especially my cop friends) can probably imagine how quickly this situation broke bad. It got ugly. Really ugly.
In my next two classes, I was blatantly disrespected by several other kids. One of them was in a class that is usually pretty well-behaved, so I singled her out and let the other kids watch. The last class is always hard to handle, so I didn’t feel the need to pull back on the reins. I just let go. I didn’t throw things or hit the kids, but I made damn sure that they thought I might. I would never hit them, but I don’t want them to know that.
I made two kids cry in as many classes. The first is one of my worst offenders. He likes to mock me when I turn around; he seems to think I’m too dumb to figure out who’s doing it. Today, he kept imitating the way I talk out loud while I was lecturing. I said “please stop” and he imitated “please stop” and flashed a smug smile. It was time for round 2. He didn’t make it to round 3. I got up close and personal, pointing at him and poking him in the chest. Pointing is a bit taboo here, so poking is serious. After I finished yelling, I made him kneel down in the front of the classroom for the last fifteen minutes of class. That is the longest this kid has ever been quiet. The rest of the class was a dream.
With two exceptions, none of the kids ever bowed to me before today. They always bow to the Korean teachers and walk right by me. I assumed that this was because I’m American. Apparently it was because they don’t respect me. Today, lots of kids bowed to me. Makes me wish I had flipped my wig weeks ago. My last class was 9th grade – they’re usually a bit rowdy. They must have gotten wind of the pre-lunch explosions. I snapped this picture about 30 minutes into class, when they’re usually at their worst:
Until next time.