A whine and complain thread

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chrismachine
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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby chrismachine » Tue May 19, 2015 9:23 pm

Did you scan them first? You can send electronic versions to tide them over and get processes started while waiting for the real ones to arrive...
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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby ntw3001 » Wed May 20, 2015 8:32 am

Well they had scans of most of the documents anyway but when I asked them whether I could send anything else they just asked for a scan of the contract. So I assume they didn't have a use for scans and needed the physical documents.

They arrived today though, so hopefully it'll work out alright.

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby jvcc » Wed May 27, 2015 2:01 pm

That's stressful. Sounds like they should be more understanding, since they gave you such short notice. As you say, hope it works out alright.
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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby ntw3001 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:29 am

I am currently in Japan obtaining a visa! Hopefully this will go well and then the only thing to worry about will be the small issue of living and working in South Korea. Let's see how this pans out!

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby PonderThis » Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:26 am

Sending good thoughts your way, enty!

:: good thoughts ::
:: good thoughts ::
:: good thoughts ::
:: good thoughts ::

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby ntw3001 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:49 am

Well Japan was lovely. Anyone who should chance to visit Fukuoka would be wise to try Hakata ramen. It's good ramen.

So the visa run was fine, and now I have a visa. I have to have a medical check and get some manner of alien registration card, but that's whatever. Now the only challenge is dealing with the kids who swear at me in a language I do not understand! Children are the best people.

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby EsBe » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:43 pm

I don't know if it's good or bad advice to suggest that you swear back to them in a language they don't understand.

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby chrismachine » Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:53 pm

I don't think it will be what you expect. Congrats!
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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby ntw3001 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:38 am

chrismachine wrote:I don't think it will be what you expect. Congrats!


Ominous!

I'm not sure exactly how people go about finding friends in these places. I guess I'll go to the one foreigner bar I'm aware of and... I dunno. I may have to approach people, which I hate.

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby sum yun gai » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:02 am

ntw3001 wrote:I have to have a medical check and get some manner of alien registration card, but that's whatever.


how did nobody notice that Enty is an alien???? :shock:
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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby PonderThis » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:00 am

We noticed. How do you think he got that cool custom title? ;)

Meanwhile, my whine is: Tropical Storm Billshit is headed this way. The ground is still rickin'-frackin' saturated from the record rain that fell for the entire month of May. This stupid storm is supposed to hit around 3am tonight and rain heavily for hours. I had to buy a shopvac because water was getting into my house back in May and it looks like I've got another round coming tonight. fork. fork fork fork fork fork. fork.

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby PonderThis » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:15 am

And it turned out the local weather guys WAY oversold it. Never had a single problem. Disregard previous whine. :n/

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby ntw3001 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:24 pm

That's a relief. I've never had to deal with floods, although they seem to happen in various parts of the UK every year now. At least we don't have basements in my town, I guess? I assume basements add a whole extra layer of problem.

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby chrismachine » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:25 pm

Basements are a godsend on really hot days... but expensive and downright dangerous if they are wet. Anyway I love my basement :)

You'll do fine with the kids, that's more of what I meant. If you need anything, tips, games, ideas, you know how to get a hold of me. Also if you need to ask anything of my friend who taught in Korea (albeit 5 years ago).
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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby jvcc » Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:11 am

Round here basements offer protection from tornadoes. But also, the flooding. So much mild flooding.

Congrats, Enty! I also hate approaching people, but when I was in Dublin I went to a pub by myself and asked a group if I could sit with them, saying I was waiting for a friend. "Friend" didn't show, chatted with some strangers. Worked out fine.
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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby James » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:57 am

What a devious web of lies.
SIGNATURE: GONE

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby ntw3001 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:56 am

Oh me oh my my students are not fans of mine. I'm too boring! I suspected this would be the case because I'm not terribly good at interacting with kids between the ages of, say six to sixteen. I try to be animated and keep them involved, but the kind of high-energy, clownish character they seem to like is pretty distant from anything I can imitate. Also, I'm feeling a lot of pressure to blitz through the textbooks rather than do anything interesting. And when I do go away from the textbook and give them something a bit more creative, they don't seem to like it any better. And there's no time to plan any such departure because my planning time is taken up with extra lessons! I'm doing ok with the older students, but overall I'm not sure I can keep this teaching lark going. I won't be teaching children again, at any rate!

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby ntw3001 » Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:54 am

Ouch. My director took me aside today to inform me that all my students hate me, I'm responsible for three of them leaving and I have to change entirely. Now, I'm trying to improve my relationship with them, but my mediocre powers of foresight are sufficient to tell me that it's not going to work. The longer this job goes on, the worse these problems are going to get, so it seems like cutting it short is the best choice.

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby jvcc » Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:25 pm

Yikes, that sucks.

Did the director have any explanation or advice to offer? Are there any other more experienced teachers there that you could ask for advice from? Or even sample lesson plans?
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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby chrismachine » Mon Jul 06, 2015 3:04 pm

That must have been really hard to hear, and I'm sorry for that. My best advice really is to try and get to know them individually, take their interests and make them the subject of lessons, be it books on those topics, pictures used for creative writing, that sort of thing. It might help if I knew what you were teaching as well.
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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby ntw3001 » Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:32 pm

Ah yes. Well I'm teaching English to kids from, say, 7 to 15. Some older students and some younger ones. The older and younger ones are actually going well; I'm easy-going and have good subject knowledge, which the older ones appreciate, and with the younger ones I can... run around and make noises, I don't know. They respond well. But motivating the kids in my main age range is something I've had no success with.

Tbh I'm not sure I can win them over. Some classes could be ok, but others are enough of a problem that I can't do anything. Like, I'm trying to be friendly, but they're screaming, so I have to shout so they listen. I don't shout at them, but I have to shout 'BOYS' or else I can't speak to the other students. So in that class, I'm a teacher who shouts at the students every lesson. And since they don't like me and know my power to punish them is pretty limited (all I can do is order them to face the wall/leave the room/whatever) it's great sport for them to just refuse my instructions, forcing me to stop the lesson and insist, making me a mean disciplinarian. I'm supposed to build a relationship with them but I absolutely cannot figure out how I might do that. I have some hints on what they like, but most days I have half an hour to prepare seven lessons so I don't feel like I can actually make much use of it. There are just too many classes to come up with unique, interesting activities for all of them. And when I do give them activities I think they'll like, some classes won't like them because I set them. I have a book of small activities to try, but the last time I tried one (a little memory-matching game, matching vocabulary words to pictures) resulted in the troublesome ones standing on their chairs and shouting 'IS BAD GAME' until I sent them out. It was pretty discouraging. And those low-level classes aren't able to understand much in the way of instructions, so a lot of the more interesting, creative activities fall flat. I'm loath to try motivating them with sweets and stickers because the problem students won't give me any opportunity to reward them. I don't want a well-behaved, bestickered master race and a resentful stickerless underclass.

It also turns out I made the error of worrying too much about the textbooks. They're huge, and I was told they had to get done. Then I was told I should skip parts, but I don't know which parts to skip. What's the book for anyway? I can't really tell. So yeah, I worked them too hard on the books and not enough on being pals and now I'm some manner of boring, shouting ogre. I'm doing ok with the students under 7 and over 14, but they're a peripheral concern. My main job is teaching the ones I can't deal with. And I've read up on motivating students and asked other teachers, but I can't figure it out. If I could, some of these classes would still be beyond me.

So, I'm very much thinking I'll leave at the end of this term. I feel terribly guilty towards my employer because he's helped me a lot with settling in, and even more so to the agent who placed me here because she was already upset about the problems with my visa (which were my fault, as it happens), but if I stay I don't think it's going to be good for anyone. And I'm kind of baffled as to how it's gone so badly; I've never heard of anyone as rampantly unsuccessful at teaching (and I hate the idea of being a dickhead who travels, makes friends and then leaves after three months). That's not good, but it does make me feel like it can't be solely down to my own ineptitude. Loads of people, many far more inept than myself, do the same thing and don't have the same problems. I taught (a little bit) in Thailand and didn't have the same problems. So I'm flattering myself that I'm not just the absolute worst teacher in history and outside factors have contributed to the issue.

There's another job lined up in Japan starting next year, so I can make a go of that. That job, I gather, will have instructions and goals, and even training and orientation (!). And it's mostly kindergarten students, which is an age group I'm pretty happy with. I'll have a few months to recover my confidence.

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby chrismachine » Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:23 pm

Well my entire career has been teaching kids between 9 and 13 in a second language, so I know exactly what you're in. Difference is I had a year of very formal training with 15 weeks built in under the supervision of a veteran. I would suggest you really redouble your efforts to make the subjects interesting for at least a week and not worry about the content. You can't get held up on those benchmarks. Simplify everything. Give the bad kids stickers for the behaviour you want, and don't stop your teaching to discipline them. Use non-verbal cues as much as possible, tap the desk as you go by, be enthusiastic etc. The thing is, I would be much better showing you because I know you're not blind to how it should look.
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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby ntw3001 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:32 pm

Today was better; I worried less about the textbooks and gave them more interesting stuff, like team exercises and get-the-work-done races and such. With candy prizes, and consolation prizes for the losers. It was better, but I still had to pull out the textbook and give them some of that work, and they either slumped over or started singing. So yeah, I suspect the textbook is an issue. When I adapt it into good activities they respond, and when I don't they don't. But due to the lack of time I'm still not sure I can manage the same trick every lesson without constantly retreading old ground. I also had a problem with one activity being done in pairs, with one immensely unpopular boy whom everyone refused to work with. He's very unhappy, which is heartbreaking. The other boys bully him in a low-key way, and the language barrier means I can't scold them adequately. It's a situation where actual punishment would be too heavy-handed; what they need is a dose of guilt, which I'm not able to administer.

But yeah, overall it's a marginal improvement. If they disliked my lessons, the lessons today were more enjoyable. If they dislike my manner, that's not something I can see how to change. Tomorrow I have my least pleasant class (the one class I feel dislike me specifically rather than my lessons), so I'll set them up with some activities and see how they respond. But the manager knows the situation and is prepared to deal with it if I leave. I believe we're on the same page: I don't want to leave, and he seems to appreciate that I'm trying to improve things. I think the school is well-run (although the heavy lesson schedule is a problem), I don't want to go home (there's no reason for me to be there, and I'm beginning to settle here), but if I can't win over the students it's going to be terrible for everyone. The 'can I make the students like me' question is a brick wall. So I need to decide whether I can do that or not. And if I decide to stay, I'll have to cancel the Japan job next year because I'd have to ditch this contract after nine months in order to take it, and I really can't justify that after all this trouble. If I stay, I have to stick it out.

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby ntw3001 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:28 pm

Okay okay. Friday way a nightmare day. Overall. Then I met up with some buds who reassured me that everyoe's first year is a horrorshow and that the trick is to not care whether I'm doing a good job because nobody here knows what a good job even looks like anyway. Students come and go, and the foreign teacher is a useful scapegoat for a student who wants to leave (and to be fair, I'm pretty certain at least one student who left was going to leave anyway). I'd much rather have some assurance that I'm actually doing things right, though. I'm needy; I feed off encouragement. If I hear I'm doing well, I identify it as a skill and work harder; if I hear I'm failing, I write it off. in a jorb interview, I would describe myself as 'goal-oriented'.

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Re: A whine and complain thread

Postby MysticalDescent » Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:05 am

Are you given any real guidance from the other staff, or are they pretty much leaving you to get on with it, apart from to later say that it's not going very well?
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