My 5/10s are a challenge. 5 means Mattayom 5, which means grade 11. 10 means their ranked 10th. Out of 10. There’s only a dozen of them but they take the most energy. The boys like to skip, which makes teaching easier, but then they fail everything. My co-teacher had to wrangle them to class. And every class I have a story.
- The boys finally show, and ask “Teacher, toilet.” I flat out reject their request. They ask again and again, but there’s no way I’m letting them leave. I know that they just had a class without a teacher, so there’s no reason that they waited for my class to go to the washroom.
- The boys are goofing off, and I see they are playing with a phone. I demand the phone, and they try to talk their way out of giving it up. “Teacher, beautiful.” “Teacher I love you.” I don’t give an inch. They look to the co-teacher for support, who in turn looks away! I get the phone.
- Often when I walk into class the lights are out and the kids are lying on the floor. This happens if they didn’t have a teacher that period. This is always the case with 5/10. On time I started my lesson, walked down the aisle, and two of them scrambled up from the floor. They were sleeping! So I kicked them out. “No, teacher, no!” But I made them leave. 10 minutes later they are begging to be let into class.
- Finals are next week, so I spend all class helping them with review. Two kids skipped. Nice kids, but they really need the review. My next class is next door, but I forgot my pens. When I go to grab them, the two skippers are there! And as usual, there’s no teacher. So I make them join me next door for the review class.
And other random stories
- I have another class with chronic truancy. Again it’s the boys. One day I walk into class, and it’s only the truant bunch, the rest of class is working on a project in the canteen. These boys skipped by staying in class! I guess that means it’s time for private tutoring session.
- Not every class is spent dealing with kids playing hooky. Some classes are amazing. Once class is very artistic. I gave them an assignment to tell me a story about their past and to draw a picture. As I walk into class, they are all adding the finishing details to their sketches, and they are beautiful.
- Another class loves my activities. “Teacher! Game!” they shout. They happened to be very bright and learn quickly so we usually have time for a game. It makes me happy when they get excited about my games. Don’t they know I’m tricking them into practicing English?
- Finally, my brightest class just amazes me. Not only are they smart, but they are hardworking, supportive, friendly and have excellent English. I’m lucky because they arrived to me this way. Since everything is so easy for them, I had them present mini-plays. I found some cute scripts online, and they did all the work to prepare the shows. They cast the parts, practiced their lines, and created costumes. “How did you like doing the plays?” I asked. “So fun!” they replied