This past Wednesday morning I go to my classroom to set up for my introduction lesson a few minutes early. This is the first week for me teaching the second grade high school boys classes (I’d been teaching the senior grades in a Suneung (“Korean SATs”) listening prep class for September and October).
I turn on the computer, the touch-screen TV, and set up my power point presentation that I use in my introduction lesson. I put on some Hip Hop music (to wake up the guys as they walk in), and write a few things on the white board like “Classroom Rules” and the 10 Xs system (I erase one X each time a rule is broken, all 10 get erased and there’s a consequence for the whole class) that I use for classroom behavior management.
I finish setting up, check my watch, and have a minute or so to wait before the boys should begin arriving . . .
No early arrivals . . . okay. Usually at least a few guys show up early to get first pick of where they want to sit, check out the alien teacher–err, foreign English teacher, and chill out while waiting for the class to begin.
The class bell goes off, and I’m standing in the doorway. I see another young Korean English teacher, and he asks me, “Are you teaching now?” I respond, “Yes, but I have no students” and begin laughing.
He seems astounded by this, and I tell him that it’s a pretty common experience for native English teachers that an entire class just doesn’t show up, and nobody tells you anything about why . . . sometimes this happens for legitimate reasons and other times it’s just plain poor communication and a lack of professional courtesy to make sure the native English teacher is informed about a schedule change, cancellation, or whatever the case may be.
I wait two more minutes, and then decide I’m going to do something I rarely do anymore . . . . . . . . . .