I freaked out and cried in my lesson

I think that now I can finally say that there is some routine again in my life and not everything is as good as it looks on my Instagram account.

We started giving classes in October. This is when they gave each one of us a schedule and books. As I speak Spanish and get along with children, I was assigned to primary school and kindergarten. I have most of the classes with the 1st and 2nd graders, some in kindergarten and some also in the 4th and 3rd grade. My day starts at 9 o’clock and as we live 5 minutes from school, I can sleep until 8:15. There is always a break from 12-12:30 and my last class ends at 14. Our goal is to make children talk, so all the students are divided into groups and I take a group of 7-8 students with me to the library where we play or have a conversation on a specific topic. With 1st and 2nd graders we always repeat the main phrases (What’s your name? How old are you? What is your favourite colour? How are you?) and then play something in English. With 3rd and 4th graders I try to talk more, but mostly it is not a real conversation as their level is very low. I need to translate everything, teach them words, make them repeat all the sentences, so that they would remember something. Four times a week from Monday to Thursday from 4-5 pm I also give the English extracurricular class, this is one hour long, two times a week 1st grades and two times 2nd grades. This is an extra class to learn more English. There I am totally alone as a real teacher as this is an actual job and I also have signed a contract with school. It is a perfect opportunity to earn some more money.

It is unbelievable how fast you can become friends with children. I think that after one week they already hugged me and gave compliments about my clothes and earrings. They are so sincere and you can get so much back from them.

However, at the same time they just eat you up, they take so much energy that sometimes after one class with them (which is 45min long) I feel so exhausted and would rather just go home and sleep. You need to repeat the rules every single class – don’t hit, raise your hand, respect your teacher, don’t speak all at the same time. It can take 10 minutes for them to even just open a book. You need different tricks and techniques to make them behave. Many teachers have this technique that when they raise their hand, then students need to do the same and stop talking. When they misbehave, their name will be put to a red colour on the traffic light and they can’t have a break outside with others. I am usually out with my group of 8 students, but when I am in the class with the teacher and 28 students, I am sometimes thinking, how can you do this everyday for the rest of your life? It is so exhausting. Imagine if there is an hyperactive student in the class too, who needs most of your attention… OMG!

It is definitely way more difficult to give classes in primary than secondary school as you need so much energy, but in secondary you need more time to prepare for the classes as the topics are more difficult. In primary we are studying basic phrases, numbers, colours etc, in secondary Keio needs to talk about pollution and energy consumption in Estonia.

So, when I started with my first classes and teaching children for the first time ever, I had no idea about all of these tricks and techniques. I was also not really aware of what they can do and what would be too difficult for them. Last week my extracurricular class started off well, but I guess somewhere in the middle the children got a little carried away. I didn’t see the exact moment, but one boy hit one girl’s pencil sharpener against the wall, it broke and the girl cried. Then, I guess the exercise I gave them was too difficult, they really struggled and started complaining and I had to go to each one personally to help out. One moment, I don’t know how, two boys got into a fight, they were so serious and angry, it looked as if they were gonna kill each other, they didn’t listen to me, and one moment later I kind of freaked out, I mean, I started crying… I felt like I had failed. I put on a cartoon and hid myself behind my desk pretending to look for something. After the class, I also talked to the parents and told them about the fight. I guess they could see I had cried, but didn’t say anything about this. After this, I could not sleep at night, I just kept thinking about it and played the same situation in my head a million times. I was even thinking that maybe I am not meant to be a teacher, maybe I can not do this, maybe I am too weak… The next day I went to school and as soon as one of the friendliest teachers asked me what was wrong with me (as this was still all over my face), I just burst into tears. She took me to another room and talked to me, gave me advice, then she called the other teacher as well and she was so nice and told me to always call her or to go to her place for a tea. Then all the boys were punished and needed to apologize to me one by one. Next time I had a class with them, I felt so much better and stronger. I laid down the law, was super strict and introduced them to my new set of rules. They were quiet and behaved well.

In the beginning I was definitely a little scared of children and too worried. Now I am already getting used to them and they to me. I am also taking the classes in a more relaxed way and go with the flow. I guess it just takes time for them to adapt to new situations and teachers. Once you get to know each other, you know what is expected of you.

When I compare teaching to my previous job at the office, then even the hardest day at the office is nothing compared to the work that teachers do everyday. I guess the nature of these two jobs are just totally different. At the office you are comfortably sitting behind your computer, in your comfort zone, doing exactly the same thing everyday. At school every day is different, you are standing in front of students, talking, teaching, playing, entertaining, singing, dancing, disciplining, you are responsible for these human beigns, you raise better people for society, you look after them and they look up to you. It is difficult, yes, but a million times more rewarding than the office job!


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *