If you’d walked into any of my lessons in the last two days, you might be excused for wondering if you’d wondered in the middle of a war zone. The final straw for me was my last lesson on Tuesday with the Year 8’s who were obnoxious from the moment they darkened the hall in front of my room. This lesson was the stuff of teaching nightmares, to the extent that I had almost half the class staying after school for half an hour.
I subsequently decided to re-enter Zero Tolerance mode and I’ve been an absolute shit to all my classes since then. To my delight, I seem to have got them actually learning something (whilst simultaneously getting rid of the students who were pissing me off with their atrocious behaviour).
Today, one of my Year 9 classes refused to settle down, to the extent that I told them what a stubborn sonofabitch I was (I hasten to add that I didn’t use those exact terms) and whether they liked it or not, I wasn’t going to let them go to lunch until I had taught my lesson. They didn’t like it, but I honestly couldn’t care less. I got them to answer my questions and prove to me that some had a clue about the spreadsheet formulae I had been ramming down their throats for the previous ninety minutes.
The result of this aggressive behaviour on my part has been that I’m absolutely exhausted. I am hoping that my toughness will have had some effect, so that next week, I can threaten them that I’ll do exactly the same thing to them again if they continue to mess with me.
The biggest compliment (well, I think it’s compliment) came from another teacher who, when teaching one of the Year 7 classes I take, asked them to list their five most frightening experiences – and they listed attending my lessons as being one of them. I’m not sure whether fear and learning work that well together, but if they are shit-scared to move a muscle, they have no option but to get on with the work I teach them.
From keeping my ears peeled to the ground, I think I’ve established a bit of a reputation in the school for being strict and this is something I’m pretty happy with. Better a teacher who’s a bastard but gets work out of them, than a walkover whom the kids make fun of.
I know that I’ll have to soften up soon, if only to stop myself imploding.