And the Meanest Teacher of the Year Award goes to:
Mr. Daniel "David or Daniel Baby" Gray.
"Thank you very much everyone. This was very predictable and I didn't doubt for a second that I wouldn't get this award. I worked long and hard tormenting my students this year in order to win this award. This award is just a acclaimation of the obvious so I would like to thank the judges for doing what they knew in their hearts to be the truth. So whoop-dee-doo and yadda-yadda-yadda."
O.K. This was the day that I couldn't do anything right. In my first class, I was writing on the board as I normally do. The class was mumbling and being their usual selves. As soon as I turned around, I saw Lee Dong-Young hit Kim Mee-na on the head. This wasn't a love tap, but a long hard swing at her noggin. She didn't start crying, she simply glared and I knew that if I didn't separate them quickly a follow-up volley would be forthcoming. So I told the hitter, Dong-Young, to get up and come to the board. He refused. He said that she hit him first.
I didn't see her hit him, so I couldn't punish her, right?
Wait, maybe I should start at the beginning. As soon as I entered 4th grade Guk-Hwa's classroom, I knew that there would be a problem. Maybe they had too much sugar in the morning or maybe it's just because it was Wednesday. I don't know how I knew. It's like some radar went off in my head. I guess after doing this for so long you just develop some sixth sense for this stuff.
The first time they got out of hand, I told them all to raise their arms up into the air and told them to be silent. I wrote the numbers "1,2,3" on the board and told them every time they started to act up, get loud, or simply disturb the classroom then I would take away a number. They were good for 10 minutes before I crossed out the first number. And after I erased the number they settled down right away. We continued the lesson and was almost to the game when Dong-young hit Mee-na.
When I demanded Dong-young to come up to the board he refused and screamed, "But teacher, she hit me first?" I should have asked her if she hit him first, but I was pretty sure she would have said, "No." Plus I HATE tattle-tales. One should take responsiblity for one's actions. I learned this in the hood, you know in Delaware. Regardless, I should have questioned her. I didn't and yelled at Dong-young that to the front of the classroom.
He kept screaming, "But why teacher! Why only me!" I told him I saw him hit her and I didn't see her hit him. I grabbed him and tried to get him to come up to the board. He went dead limp in my arms and kept screaming.
He started to cry and I then asked him quietly to go outside so he could stop crying and calm down and come back in.
He refused so I crossed out number 2. I told him to go outside again. He refused and kept screaming, "She hit me first!" I crossed out 3 and made everyone get out paper and a pencil and told them to write, "I will not hit others in the classroom." twenty times.
Later on, a very sullen Dong-young came back to my classroom with his teacher and apologized to me. It wasn't a real apology. He still felt that I was unfair to him and maybe he thought the reason I didn't punish Mee-na was simply because she is a girl. Do I only punish boys? Statistically, maybe. But it's because the girls simply sit in class and stay quiet and try to be as invisible as possible. The boy's take my presence to be playtime and they take advantage of the situation and will get up and run around, hit each other, and say rude things to me like, "This is stupid. Teacher is crazy." and many other expressions in Korean.
Geez...Oh and in 4th grade Jang-mi, which is a very good class, we were playing a game. I called on a boy and then a girl and they had to do rock, paper, scissors against each other and the winner would have to answer a question. Apparently I overlooked one boy that raised his arm over and over again because he wanted to be picked. I didn't pick him. It wasn't for any particular reason. I just overlooked him. I have 40-50 students in each class after all.
Because I didn't call on him he started to cry at the end of class.
So, seemingly, it was the day I couldn't do anything right. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.