Feeling miserable about part of my job: class visits

Discussion in 'education & employment' started by miss direct, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    Today's a national holiday here in Turkey, so this is like Sunday evening for me. I have an insanely busy week coming up - 5 days of going all across Turkey. I work for a publishing company and my job has a few different parts to it. Teacher training, I love. Material creations, wonderful (especially when I can work from home). Classroom observations, fine. I feel like I'm being useful when I do those things at least.

    However, the part of my job I really don't like is known as "class visits". They don't happen much in Istanbul, but in the more rural (and usually conservative/religious) parts of the country, where so called "native speakers of English" are rare, they often ask for one of our team to come in for the day. Basically the goal is to go around, meet the students, answer their questions, get them speaking, maybe do some activities with them. Sometimes it's classroom by classroom, and sometimes it's in an auditorium with a stage and microphone and the whole school.

    At a good school it can be ok - the kids know you're coming, have prepared questions in advance, the teacher helps out with names and classroom management and stops them from asking rude/stupid questions which are personal or about religion. These good schools are rare though. Most of the time, the kids have no idea I am coming, have nothing to say, ask questions like "are you Muslim" or "do you like the president" or "do you eat kebab". I am an introvert and a day of meeting lots of new people, talking all day and being the centre of attention is, frankly, exhausting. It's also against my idea of teaching - it shouldn't be all about me, but about them..

    My other colleagues don't seem to have a problem with class visits but they all seem to be extroverts and like attention.

    In the next two days I'm going to four schools - none of the students know I'm coming and I am dreading it. I have to get up at 6 o clock tomorrow to travel to another city and then stay in a hotel on my own and do the same again in another city the next day.

    I'm trying to think of some sort of activities to do so it isn't all about me. Basically I just wanted to get this off my chest, and if anyone has any advice, I'd appreciate it. I'd actually like to tell my boss that I don't want to do class visits anymore - my background is in teaching adults and university students and not classes of Turkish primary students. :( :oops:
    muscovyduck likes this.
  2. purenarcotic

    purenarcotic Conveniently Pocket Sized

    Is there the capacity to be more forceful with the schools in terms of your requirements? For example, we only work in single sex groups at secondary level, only cover one topic (we are regularly asked to cover things like DV, CSE, forced marriage and FGM in one one hour session which is absurd and impossible) and only work with class size groups. If that can’t be accommodated then we don’t go.
    muscovyduck and miss direct like this.
  3. FiFi

    FiFi Hot cross Bunny

    is it possible for you to lay out some ground rules with the staff at the schools. I would certainly not answer questions about religion, or other personal subjects.
    muscovyduck and miss direct like this.
  4. bimble

    bimble noisy but small

    :(. Sounds really stressful.
    Maybe you could choose the questions, ask the children their answers after you’ve said yours?
    miss direct likes this.
  5. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    Usually I get in touch with the schools in advance and "advise" them about how the visits go best in my experience.

    However, this time I was given the contact details late, and many of the schools we work with are hopelessly disorganised.

    I've had some awful experiences (an RE teacher trying to convert me to Islam in front of 30 ten year olds....turning up for what I'd been told was a training workshop with teachers only to be hustled onto a stage, mic thrust in hand and expected to give a talk to the whole middle school for an hour).

    Sometimes (rarely) it goes very well though and the kids have fun and I meet nice people. The problem is though, if you're too good and they really like you, they keep asking you to come back (and our company almost never says no :mad:)

    Thanks for the replies. Hopefully I'll write back here on Wednesday night saying it was all fine and nothing to worry about.
    muscovyduck and UnderAnOpenSky like this.
  6. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    What's your job purenarcotic ? Thankfully no one has asked me about those topics yet (they probably would if their English was good enough).

    I'm mentally preparing myself to be asked how old I am 500 times tomorrow. My answer to that is "79" - just to test if they're even listening to the answer/understand numbers.
  7. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    Just thought I'd check in to say that day one is done and it went really, really well. The schools were both village government schools (hence the students are modest and very excited to meet a foreigner). Their English was atrocious but they were really sweet - and they had some sort of performance for children's day in the afternoon so I was done by 2pm. I should really chill out. Let's hope tomorrow goes just as well.
    Edie, zora, ElizabethofYork and 8 others like this.
  8. tim

    tim Well-Known Member

    miss direct likes this.
  9. Riklet

    Riklet procrastinación

    Hope it didnt go too badly.

    What about taking some kind of A B jigsaw speaking pairwork thing with you next time?

    You could design or use appropriate questions and the classes could practise with each other most of the time and then get to ask you some of the Qs.

    This would allow you to both trial materials and put more of a focus onto the learners. Might make it less stressful and they would get more English out of it. Maybe you could focus on pron work or error correction and tell them about yer love for kebabs at the end!

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