There was an incident recently in a class. In China, students are typically in big classes of 40+ students. When we teach them, we divide the class in two, I take the class to another room, whilst another English teacher teaches the other half of the class in their classroom. I teach about 22 students per class. This makes it easier to get students speaking and also means we can spend more time on activities with them.

A couple of weeks ago, there was an incident in a class, half of which I teach. My class are fine. I haven’t had any problems with them. But the other teacher says they are a bad class to teach and not well-behaved at all.

Of the 12 foreign English teachers here, some are not as committed as others. Some try, but don’t have any formal English teaching qualifications and so don’t always achieve what they want. They also forget that we are here, not primarily to teach the students about different topics e.g. history, but to get them speaking and using English. Still, some teachers are more professional than others.

Many teachers are just working down towards the end of term which is officially at the end of June, for us, but which will probably happen a lot sooner. I was not aware of the incident until a little while later, by accident, when the teacher in question was on Skype in the living room, and was speaking rather loudly. We then got an email from our manager which detailed a little bit more about the situation.

The teacher was quite upset about it, and refused to teach the student again. For a while, they were refusing to teach the class again, as the teacher thought the class’s behaviour was awful. The student shouted at the teacher, and the students were applauding them. The teacher is not known for their excellent classroom management skills, nor their enjoyable lessons.

The result of this is that the class will still be taught by that teacher, but the student will go into my class. I’m not overly pleased about this, but I will try not to make the same mistakes that the other teacher did, which set this student off. Also, I would hope that the class would back me up if anything happened.

The week after the incident, there was no class, whilst the Chinese teachers spoke with the class about their behaviour. Next Friday is when I am teaching the class next. We are doing some final exam prep, and then I’ll play a few games with them. So it should be okay. We will see….

Our manager is currently recruiting more teachers for next year. The teacher involved in the incident is not returning. And they are not really that committed. But it is difficult for my manager who has only just really started to manage (he mostly was quite laid-back about things but I think now is realising that he has responsibilities). Trying to recruit new teachers is difficult and you don’t know their commitment before they arrive. I think next year will be easier on a lot of us as we have already been here a year so we know the staff, students and procedures. It remains to be seen what the new teachers will be like, and how my first class with this student will be like. Last lesson on a Friday, too!

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