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22 December 2004
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KLB - "It's Time to Start Class!"


The more I think about it, the more I'm dreading working with Cathy for six hours/day instead of three next month, even if I will be getting double the pay.

I arrived early again today (I'm on a roll) and, in a great mood, I got things together then went to the computer room, which is right next door, to goof around with the early kids. They usually hang out in there playing internet games before class. I think it's nice that they can play for a bit in between study sessions. After all, these kids are in school all day, then take my class, then most of them go on to study at other private institutes into the evening.

Well, at 12:57, Cathy stormed into the computer room and started her, "It's 1:00, time for study," line.

"It's OK, Cathy," I said. "I'm here with them."

Her face flashed red in anger. "No, Shawn, it's time to start class!" And with that, I almost erupted. It took all my inner strength to hide my anger and calm down.

"Cathy," I said, forcing a smile, "it's not one o'clock yet. Calm down."

She frowned and walked out of the room, but returned just a minute later and called all the kids names again while saying, "Time for study," over and over again. Has she flipped her lid? I looked at my cellphone, which displays the most accurate time, and it clearly said 12:58. She knows several students won't even arrive for another 5 minutes.

Well, I stayed in the room with one of the kids until 1:01 before going into the classroom. Cathy was at the front of the room calling attendance and putting -1 marks next to names on the board. I sighed. My great mood was gone. In fact I had become grouchy. As Cathy squirmed, I took my time arranging things on the desk and flipping through the teacher's book until all the students arrived. Then I regained composure and took full command of the classroom, spending the rest of the class in a whirlwind of review, using all sorts of materials and techniques, to go over all of the English Time lessons I've taught thus far. The kids really got into it, too. It can't be more clear they have learned a lot. They are especially good at speaking, which I think is the most important thing. You see, it doesn't matter if I start class at 12:58 or 1:01 or 1:05. What is important is that the children are learning the language.

If this continues, I'm going to have to call Bonnie from the agency and have a talk about who exactly is in charge of the classroom. The way it is now, I feel like I have my boss in the room with me instead of an assistant. That I have to worry about what I'm doing because Cathy will not approve.

I don't totally despise her yet, but we are simply not a good match. She wants it her way, everything done mechanically and meticulously, and I want it my way - loosely structured and fun for the kids. So far we've both been compromising, but it's just a matter of time before things go sour and a heated argument ensues. At least it makes interesting blogging. Stay tuned.

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