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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Reviewing my Patience

Patience is virtue. I know it's trite but I think I forgot to live by it in my class yesterday.

Here is what happened. I see the student online, click on his name in the main messenger window, and a conversation window appears. I click on the video icon, wait for a few seconds, (sometimes a few minutes depending on the internet speed) the connection loads, my student and I get connected. It's 8:30 pm and the class starts.

ME: Hi, Carlo, good evening! ( I project a wide smile to show how happy I am to see my student.)
CARLO: Yes...(His voice was very soft and was without vim.)
ME: Carlo, if your teacher says, "Good evening!" You should say,"Good evening, too!" Ok, one more time, Good evening Carlo!
CARLO: Good evening too.!
ME: Ok, very good, Carlo! Next question, Carlo, how are you doing today?
CARLO: I went to school today.
ME: What? No, I am asking you about how you feel today! (a bit intense but not yet shouting) How are you doing today?
CARLO: Today is Tuesday. (Seems like the student has left his zeal somewhere else as I can't sense it.)
ME: Carlo, I didn't ask you what day it is today. My question is, "How are you doing today?" Ottoke chininyehaeseyo? (I was compelled to speak in Korean for the seemingly alienated student.)How are you? (I was becoming redundant and starting to raise my voice.) Are you ok, are you fine, or what?
CARLO: I'm fine.
ME: Ok, very good. One more time, How are you doing today?
CARLO: I'm fine.
ME: Alright, very good Carlo. How about your mom, how is she doing today? ( a little bit calmed down this time)
CARLO: She is watching TV. (he really sounds lethargic and sluggish that he can hardly utter the words clearly)
ME: No! (annoyed again and starting to lose it) Carlo, were you listening to me? My question is, HOW is your mom doing today? I didn't say, WHAT is your mom doing today?
(I had to type the questions in the messenger window and emphasize the difference between HOW and WHAT. There is a long dead air. The student is quiet, so I have to repeat the question and try to make it easier for him. )
ME: Carlo, HOW is your mom doing? Is she fine, is she ok, is she feeling bad, what?
CARLO: Is she fine. (minus the right intonation this time)
(It's harder to teach online than teaching the student in the actual setting.)
ME: Ok, say it again, She is fine, or My mom is fine. (I stressed)(The student repeats for God's sake.) Alright, if I ask you the question, How is your mom doing, you can say she is fine. Can you say that again? (I ask the same question again for familiarity.) How is your mom doing?
CARLO: She is fine.
ME: And now, What is she doing? The question is what and not how. What is your mom doing?
CARLO: She is fine.

Once, my boss asked me about the progress of Carlo (not his real name).

"How about Carlo?," he asked. "His mother told me he still doesn't know how to read and he is not showing any improvement."

"Sir, his case is very isolated, I have been teaching him for almost a year and it's really hard to see any improvement in him. I have been doing my best to help him. I have other students younger than him who don't know how to read when they start their classes with me, but after three months or so they already know how to read and respond to the basic questions in English" I explained.

"So, you think there is something wrong with the student's mental state?" he asked again.

"I think so sir." I replied and my boss ended the phone call.

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~Deb said...

You know, I have a friend who answers my questions just like him. How you doing becomes 'what are you doing', and the entire point of any given conversation is pointless almost. It's sad, because sometimes, I think, is it just ADD? Is it a lack of interest, or just not caring, or is it more that there are some people who do not know how to communicate with others...?

This was interesting.


but actually, i really don't like to blame my student at all, there are indeed slow learner students and i think i should try to be more patient with carlo, my patience is just sometimes at the end of the rope when his mom always tells me what to do in the class and that really pisses me off

shiera said...

Being a teacher really squeezes patience out of you. ^-^


to shiera

the thing is, when everything is squeezed out of me, i feel like i want to squeeze my student's neck, (kidding), thanks for coming...

parisukat said...

a year and still? i think the kid might not be interested or something. or yeah perhaps... his brain refuse to accept the new level of learning.

Nick Phillips said...

I don't think I could ever be a teacher, not because I don't have patience cos because I don't think I could be strict enough ...


though i think you raise good kids, it pays to be a little strict but it's better if it's done in the right way, thanks for coming^^

crazed_heck said...

been wanting to teach too...does it get frustrating?



yes, sometimes it does, it's funny though that i always seem to see myself teaching after trying out other jobs, been here for more than eight years, it's rewarding and I think i still have a lot to learn to be efficient