Civilization and its disoncontents

Ah, Monday.
Ah, Monday after a self-imposed four-day weekend that included the “spring forward” part of daylight savings time.
Perhaps I’ve gone a bit off my game, having been a normal person for four days.
Perhaps it’s my weariness. Whatever the cause, my second period class was typically rowdy today. They had independent work to do, and only a handful completed it. Not surprising given that the rest of them could not keep their pieholes closed for more than a minute without feeling starved for air.

Nevertheless, most people handed in at least part of the assignment, and I don’t really mind if they talk a bit as long as they are doing their work. I chalked the mostly-incomplete assignments up to perhaps overassigning work. That, and that second period often ends a few minutes early so that we can hear some very important announcements over the loudspeaker.

Once the announcements started today, people put away their books, handed in their work (such as it was), and stood in line to leave. They never listen to the announcements, in part I’m sure because they don’t understand English. During this end-of-the-period downtime, one of my quieter students – I’ll call him “Che” – who always looks beset upon when the class gets rowdy, approached me and asked why I didn’t yell more.

I dislike yelling, I told him, though I do it occasionally.

I know he has a point, but I just don’t see it happening. I do think part of what makes it hard is that they come from countries where teachers are allowed to smack them if they get out of line. Even when I do yell at them, it doesn’t quite have the same impact. The only time I’m able to get them to really pipe down is during a test, when I take away their papers and give them a zero if they talk.



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