A year of traveling the world comes to an end and I have to return to a normal working life at some point. Going back to my previous school, KCIS, seems like the most logical step, and, thankfully, they are happy to have me back!
So it begins. School year 2017/2018. It warms my heart to see my old students greet me excitedly in the hallway. One particular boy, Henry, has grown from a chubby boy to a handsome young man. I’m happy to say his friendly smile has not changed. He beams the same friendly smile and says “Mr. Sun!” every time he sees me in the hallway. I must have done something right, right?
Speaking of greetings, I notice a bit of a gender difference. It seems like the male students are very comfortable acknowledging my presence and giving me friendly nods. Not so much the girls. Quite a number of them pretend they don’t see me or recognize me. As soon as I wave my hand, they acknowledge my presence in a way that tells me they do see me but choose not to initiate contact. To be honest, I am a little hurt at first. After all, they were all adorable and liked my class. At least they appeared to like my class. I’ll attribute this “I don’t-see-you-until-you-wave-at-me-thing” to girls being girls. Until I’m told otherwise, I’m going to blame puberty and hormones instead of reflecting on my own teaching! Right? No, but seriously, female students are tricky.
Teaching can be draining work, both physically and emotionally, and I sometimes think of the enthusiasm and confidence that I project as my “teaching mana”. The first month of school, there is a group of girls that really get on my nerve and take up the better part of my “teaching mana” every single class. They are loud and noisy and have a bit of a mean-girls vibe. When confronted, they cast off this evil stare at me. The stare is like that of an attack in an RPG game, it goes deep and my teaching mana drops in half. I try not to let it affect me and maintain a friendly aura to the rest of the class. Not an easy task!
After a bit of a tug-of-war and some heart to heart talks, I’m happy to say I am finally able to feel my authority in the classroom! Their behavior improved. The evil stare still comes from time to time but it’s only one student now. Now that her friends are on my side, it’s only a matter of time before I find a way to reach out to her, and make her love English class!