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Thread: Frustrated with a class

  1. #1
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    Default Frustrated with a class

    Actually, beyond frustrated. More like bitter and disappointed and ready to give up on the class for the semester, which is ending soon anyways.

    Story is: I've been doing music-related lessons with my 2nd years.
    To liven things up, I gave the assignment of singing a song in groups. Now this is a song that we've been going over in class for 2 weeks. I asked my JTEs for input about and during the lesson. I told the class that I would be happy to provide them the music. I reminded them about the presentations...

    Just almost all the groups to blow it off. Now I've gotten used to things like sleeping, talking, jumping, etc in class, but something like deliberately screwing up thinking it's funny and laughing about it in front of me is intolerable.

    After the class was over I told my JTE that I want to give a 0 for their OC grades (which is only 10 % of the English grade) for the semester, excluding the group that tried. And after they come back from the school trip I will just give them some busy work, as I just do not have the motivation or the energy to teach that class.

    Too harsh? What could I do to show the students that I am dead serious about this situation.

    Just wanted to get this off my chest before I get turn into a vitriolic harpy...

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    Senior Member chibitotoro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frustrated with a class

    Quote Originally Posted by yeulih
    Too harsh? What could I do to show the students that I am dead serious about this situation.
    You're dead serious about an assignment - not an activity, but an assignment - where you're asking a bunch of high school kids to sing songs? And you're shocked that they're blowing it off? Maybe you should rethink the way you plan your lessons...you're asking too much of your students.

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    honestly, trying to do projects is a wonderful idea, but since failing isn't an option, there's no way you can really convince them to do the work. You can make it as fun as you like, but soon as they catch on to the fact that they actually have to put in some effort, they're going to ignore you. You can fail them if you want, but it means nothing. The teachers will just adjust the grade so they all look like they've passed. Sorry, but this is Japan. There is no win-win situation. Only a win-lose. They students win, the teachers lose.

    Your best bet is to hope for genkiness. Otherwise, you're screwed.
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    It's not too difficult for them. It's a short song - 2 minutes with 4 different stanzas of which 3 are almost exactly the same. If they spent half the assigned time working on reading the words instead of sleeping or listening to their mp3 players or falling off chairs or chatting up the latest gossip, it would've been a piece of cake. They just can't be bothered. Which has been like that for every activity. And yes, I've been mixing things up.

    I'm still disappointed, but not as emotionally vested. I'll prob deuct half the points I can give them and assign busy work rest of the month.

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    My class is only 10 % of the grade, so it's impossible for them to fail even if I give a zero. Some of the other classes with projects had been going great - so I guess I had high hopes. Oh well.

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    Resident ewok wicket's Avatar
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    I genuinely mean no offense, but when I was in high school, if my Japanese teacher had asked us to sing a song in Japanese she would have had us laughing at her too, even if we knew the words. It's embarrassing.
    But it's awful that you tried so hard to find something you thought they would like and they blew it off. If you're going home for the break bring back some nick-knacks for the group that actually tried and ignore the others. What can you do? You can't force them to learn and punitive measures generally do not work here.
    Next time give them some choice in their project - e.g. act out the lyrics of the song, sing it, change it into a dialogue, recite it as spoken word...
    And don't be too hard on them. They're just kids. You and your cronies probably had your teachers a bit fed up when you were at school from time to time. It's not personal.
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    Senior Member Narnia's Avatar
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    I agree with Wicket, singing a song is not the best choice for High School. It works at camps cause it is camp, but in school it will not work. Unfortunatly (at my school) same goes for skits. Japanese kids are shy.
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    I never understand it when I see lesson plans that stretch over the course of two or three weeks, or outside projects and assignments they have to do as homework. It's too much work for me, and it's too much work for the kids, plus if you get a bunch of jerks in your class, they're just going to blow it off like what happened to you.

    I tend to think of my OC class as a standalone episode every week. I did just do a review lesson going back over each chapter we've covered so far since I got here, and the kids did pretty well, I was surprised, but it was boring as all get out. I try to make my lessons entertaining for me as well as the kids. We tried to do a Christmas sing along yesterday, and they DO NOT want to sing. lol They've got 4 or 5 other English classes already, I might as well try to get them to ENJOY mine while maybe secretly subconsciously learning something, but if they don't, whatever. I already went to and graduated from college, it's up to them to not fuck up.

    Sorry your kids were jerks about it to you though.

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    My advice, give those little bastards a choice. Ask what they want to learn. Explain to them that you'll make their work as fun or as boring as they want it to be.

    Then explain that if you get no suggestions then they'll be given recitation for the rest of the year and will be forced to stand up and do it in front of the class.

    As everyone has said, singing is embarrassing. I'd straight up tell you to fuck off if you asked me to sing in front of a whole class. I simply wouldn't do it. Or I'd wag that class to get out of it.

    There are other fun things that you can do without making the kids feel like twats, but I'd give them an option.

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    I learned a similar lessons the hard way last year as well, when I tried to get the kids to do skits. With no experience under my belt and zero help from my JTEs, the little punks just ended up reading from the textbook. Infuriation! I did learn a lot from that though, namely that they need to know their marks will matter, and we're trying it again this year with JTEs that actually care and a more genki group of kids, so hopefully it'll work.

    Don't stress too much over this time, it's too bad, but at least you can say you learned from it. Shit happens, at least you tried.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_Kiwis
    My advice, give those little bastards a choice. Ask what they want to learn. Explain to them that you'll make their work as fun or as boring as they want it to be.
    .
    Pretty close to spot-on!

    Let them be the masters of their domain. Be clear that any misery coming their way is on them.

    By the way, WTF made you think teaching a song to anyone over 5 is a good idea?

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    &%$#@!!! Timoshi's Avatar
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    I remember at the pre-departure orientation in Sydney, we had to all be super genki and sing a song and do some retarded dance together. It was painful. I have no intention of ever doing that here.
    Me Rikey Very Much!!!

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    I did a singing lesson last week, and my kids were totally into it. o.o; When I said "sing so the class next door can hear you," they started Christmas-caroling their little lungs out. They were ichinensei, though a round of sannensei classes did it with me later in the week, with even better results.

    ESID, says I.

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    Senior Member jacqui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_Kiwis
    My advice, give those little bastards a choice. Ask what they want to learn. Explain to them that you'll make their work as fun or as boring as they want it to be.

    Then explain that if you get no suggestions then they'll be given recitation for the rest of the year and will be forced to stand up and do it in front of the class.
    At which point the kids ignore you because they're either too engrossed in their own conversation, or they don't want to risk upsetting the wa because they actually *gasp!!* thought for themselves.

    From my experience, they don't care if thye get recitation the rest of the year. They'll do whatever the hell they like anyway.
    fucking genki

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    Which is fine by me, because I get paid either way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by meganegaki
    I did a singing lesson last week, and my kids were totally into it. o.o; When I said "sing so the class next door can hear you," they started Christmas-caroling their little lungs out. They were ichinensei, though a round of sannensei classes did it with me later in the week, with even better results.

    ESID, says I.
    In your case, very different. Meganegaki teaches the "International course" kids, folks - kids who can't wait to know about the world and learn as many languages as they can.
    Mind you, even the "regular" course kids at her school (my visit school) love acting and would probably sing if I asked them to).

    Thought of another tactic if you want to insist on singing. Get everyone to stand up and as soon as you decide you can hear them trying, let them sit down - one at a time if you have to.
    "Like anyone with a sliver of honesty in them I believe what I find I believe when I wake up each morning."
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    Senior Member Narnia's Avatar
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    My rule is that I won't sing, so I won't make them sing. If they want to sing they will do so in the music class. I tried to make my ESS girls sing and that was a disaster
    Dr Peterson: 'I'm a schoolteacher'
    Porter at Empire Hotel: 'Thought so: they always look as if they've lost something' -From "Spellbound"

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    Senior Member jacqui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_Kiwis
    Which is fine by me, because I get paid either way.
    Which is why I'm still here. ^_^
    fucking genki

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    Quote Originally Posted by wicket
    In your case, very different. Meganegaki teaches the "International course" kids, folks - kids who can't wait to know about the world and learn as many languages as they can.
    Mind you, even the "regular" course kids at her school (my visit school) love acting and would probably sing if I asked them to).
    I had the regular course last week as well. :P They're getting easier to handle now that I know some names. On the topic of singing, class 2-3 is apparantly musically inclined (or so their writing class essays would indicate, they all want to be preschool teachers), but I don't have that group, maybe you do?

    Nevertheless, I can't be the only one in this country with high achievers; your base school is pretty competitive too, isn't it Wicket?

    Low-academic students are going to be less inclined to do this kind of thing, yeah, but a mid-level would probably be okay with some coaxing, and for high-level you just need an outgoing class. It's better to have a good idea of your students' abilities before doing an activity that possibly requires them to do something hazukashii; I have several classes I wouldn't dare try music lessons with. It's difficult enough to get them to say "good morning" on a Monday first-period.

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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    I disagree with people saying it's too hard for them. It's not. Your students are shits.
    In a lot of other countries in the world (certainly the one I come from) you'd just fail for them for non-completion of set work for it and everyone would be happy. They'd repeat the year. You bet they'd do it if that was the alternative and they'd learn a lot from doing it.


    Maybe you're not angry with the students you're angry with the system that allows them to be the little shits that they potentially are and I reckon that's a more than valid thing to be upset about.

    If they are JHS ninen rather than SHS ninen they probably reckon not only that they're too cool for your activity, but also in general a bit too cool for you. That's a bit of a problem. The antidote is liberal lashings of textbook and gaman. They'll work it out for themselves after that. Little shits.
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