Mean Girls

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How do you teach mean girls?

Today, my evening class contained arrogant, catty, and peevish young women.

These kids are fourteen, so I felt like I could talk to them as if they were young adults. WRONG. I allowed them to sit wherever they wanted at first, and I let them to snack. Those two minor allowances turned them WILD! They weren’t listening to me AT ALL, and were virtually ignoring everything but their own conversations. When I tried to split them up, they obstinately refused. They refuse to engage with anyone they consider uncool or ugly. How infuriating. So I called in the branch manager. He yelled at them, and I morphed into a cold, angry dictator for the rest of the lesson.

I felt helpless in the face of these middle schoolers. If there’s a behavior problem in the classroom, I feel like it’s my job as the teacher to figure out a way around it so all students are engaged and comfortable in their learning environment. But I’ve only been a teacher for two weeks, so it’s hard to figure out how to meet the needs of these students without playing the dictator.

This strategy cannot last. They will passively resist and hate me more and more as the weeks go by. What can I do?

These are the challenges of teaching English abroad. You get to experience a new part of the world and get to explore a new career, but you have to figure out so, so much about both these aspects of life.





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