So each one of us has what we call our “hell class”. Like ‘okay ladies I’m going to my hell class wish me luck” and everyone says a silent prayer.
For me, it’s not actually my Ninas. Because sometimes they are really good–like today. As long as they have eaten something, Mr. E is actually pleasant.
No–my hell class is my Ocean class. I don’t think I’ve gotten up the courage to talk about it much because it’s just so unnerving. There is 0% of it going well. It’s the one with Aiden–the kid they all make fun of–and he’ll just get up and leave class without saying anything and I don’t stop him because I would too. And there’s another girl, Emily, who is a little chubby and they make fun of her too. I don’t speak Korean but, I can tell. Usually she leaves the classroom crying.
There are three kids who are literally up out of their seats running around. And screaming. And I take away their Korean “K”s (my discipline model) and then I give them “x”‘s because I don’t know what else to do and they don’t care at all. It’s a hot mess–and not in a beautiful way.
We’re lucky if we get the pages done. And by done I mean there are two kids who answer the questions and I have to listen really close enough to hear them and I write the answers on the board, word by word, so everyone can just copy them in.
And yesterday–I had it.
Aiden said he was happy for once (I ask all their feelings and draw them before class) when usually he says he is angry or sad or on a good day, ‘so-so’, and I was so surprised, I told him that I was happy because he was happy even though I was dreading every minute.
So to get through the reading I made up ‘hot potato reading’ where we pass my ball around and sing hot potato. And it landed on Aiden. And everyone laughed. The biggest offenders saying “pass it on, Aiden can’t read”.
And this pissed me off.
And I may or may not have went off a bit.
We should just probably watch the CCTV but it went a little like this.
I slammed my book on the table, which made some of them jump because I am a very passive person.
“We need to talk” I said clearly and slowly so they understood.
“Everyone sitting here is in Ocean class. You were tested to be here. You are not in Compass or Telescope because Director decided you were good enough to be here. Every single one of you. So stop saying someone is better than someone else because it’s not true.”
Everyone was quiet for a moment and I went over to Aiden, whose book wasn’t even open, and I flipped to the right page. “Now everyone be quiet and listen to Aiden read.”
And he did.
And he read fine.
So he passed the hot potato. And the next time it landed on him
no one said anything.
Later in class when Kevin said something about Emily, I heard a crack and looked up and Kevin was making a derpy face and that end of the table was laughing. She had straight up thrown her glue stick at him and it had bounced off his forehead and rolled on to the ground. David, one of the good ones, said laughing “Teacher, Emily threw her glue stick at Kevin” and I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and bit my lip and everyone could tell I silently approved.
No one knew that these things had happened because I had forgotten. But today, Head Teacher came in in awe–she has a “make up class” with Aiden because he never does his bookwork. She’s so (understandably) frustrated because in an hour he won’t even do one page. But today she said he did a bunch of pages no problem.
And then I randomly saw him in Director’s office doing something and he said “Hi Teacher!” and I said hi back in this awkward I can’t believe you’re talking to me sort of way.
Tonight I went to go give my daily report to Director and she was speaking to Eunhwa Teacher, who I share most of my classes with including hell class, about something I don’t know what. Director said she wanted to talk to me and I don’t think there is a person on this planet who isn’t afraid of that statement.
First she said that if I didn’t finish certain pages I needed to tell the Korean teacher. Yes I know that happened today sorry. Then she said I had a lot to learn and I should watch the other teachers. Yes, I am fully aware I am a daily failure (our boss-employee relationship didn’t change even after the hospital incident and to be honest I’m glad).
And then she asked me about Aiden. I was afraid that she had watched the CCTV and seen my mini-flip out and was going to scold me for it because the rest of our conversation hadn’t been going so well. So I told her what happened in a kind “yeah…I didn’t mean for it to happen but it did” apologetic way and she looked at me with this kind of light in her eyes and said, “well, Aiden’s mom recommended you and is grateful.”
I’m not entirely sure what this means or how she found out or anything. But it does sound like a good thing.
And honestly, every time I’ve seen Aiden since the Orange Ade incident I’ve felt this pang of guilt–like even Teacher had contributed to his sadness.
But I guess, now I feel a little less bad.
And I’m interested to see if tomorrow is a little less hellish.