I guess today encapsulated the good and bad of teaching.
In the morning, a group of students my colleagues and I were in charge of were told to report to us at a certain time. In the end, the whole group sauntered down half an hour later. Then when they saw us, they neither bothered to greet any of us nor did they even apologise for their tardiness.
Saying I was very annoyed is an understatement.
Quite calmly, my colleague expressed her disappointment at their behaviour and some of them rolled their eyes at us. Unsurprisingly, we received no apology from them. In fact, I suspect they thought we were just being a pain. After all, why should it matter that they made us wait for half an hour? We are their slaves, pandering to their every need – don’t want to listen in class but want your teacher to teach you on her own time outside school hours? Why not? Because when we refuse, suddenly we are the selfish ones who don’t care about our students.
As I told my colleague, there are two things I really cannot stand in students and students who demonstrate such “qualities” not only make me very angry but should hope I never teach them because I find it very difficult to be more than coldly cordial with them. So if you are purposefully rude to me and/or are selfish in your speech and actions, I’m sorry but I am going to find it very difficult to like you. Most other faults or weaknesses, I can deal with and I often still like these students who may be lazy, lack discipline or who have anger management problems. But be selfish or rude and I cannot take it. I used to scold but I realised it was pointless. These kids have been rude and selfish all their lives and scolding them rarely achieves anything except their anger at you. So nowadays, I tell them off briefly then refuse to interact with them (if possible).
The kids today were rude and selfish all rolled up in an ugly package. They showed no concern for our time, believed that we ought to have sat there quietly and be grateful they bothered to turn up at all and were rude. And they really spoiled the beginning of my day.
On the other hand, I met up with my ex-students for lunch. That was really lovely because to me, it was really good to see them going on to further their studies and just growing up. And even though I may not have done a lot, it’s really heartening to realise that I had in some small way helped them along the way.
The lunch more than made up for the nonsense in the morning.