14 December 2012

Diary of an ALT: Class Clones

Class clones; a phenomenon I'm sure teachers everywhere have been aware of forever but that I have only twigged recently. When I think of the classes in my schools back home I can remember there being the same certain types of people in every class; the studious girls (I went to an all girl's school), the class clown (me, ha ha ha!), the shy kids etc. but I'm sure from the teacher's perspective there were many more having seen many classes of kids come and go down the years. Since I have like 49 classes, each of about 30 students, of 5th and 6th grade which equals over a thousand students I have begun to notice these niches that are filled in almost every class I have. And some are ones I never would have suspected if I didn't have to teach such a large variety of classes. Here are a few I've noticed:

The Smart Kids
Some are naturally intelligent, some work really hard, some are as intelligent as their parents money can extend (i.e. private tutelage), and some live up to every American high-school movie cliche and wear glasses and are anal.

The Class Clowns
They try to constantly have all eyes on them, cracking jokes in the middle of class, throwing things around the place, speaking loudly, acting the maggot. Knowing I was like this, especially in primary school, I have actually begun to feel sympathy for some of my old teachers. Your peers may think you're funny now kid but when you're older you may also realise that you were an asshole. To be fair though most of them crack me up and we have great fun together since I'm pretty much at their mental age and all I want to do is act the maggot too.

The Shy Kids
They have quiet voices, are afraid to participate, speak up or stand out and I have some who will literally hide in a corner when it comes time for activities. Don't be shy little bunny I only want to ask you what colour you like.

The Adorable Kids
They come in both male and female. Often they're a little small for their age and have big, cute eyes, sweet voices and a manner that makes you want to kidnap them and flee the country with them. Since this is clearly not an option I make do with giving them extra attention and stickers.

The Brats
They don't want to learn. They hate English. They hate you. They mock every word you say and roll their eyes when you speak. Little do they know or realise that given the chance you would gladly shame them in front of all their peers if you could get away with it and secretly wish something mortifying would happen to them in class like them accidently peeing their pants.

The Kids Who Love You but Hate Your Class
This is a wierd one. I have some kids who look like they would rather be sitting on the roof in the pissing rain than playing games in English who, once class is over, will crowd around me smiling, laughing and asking me questions. Why can't you focus your curiousty on English grammar huh?!

The Ambiguously Gendered Kids
They're either slight boys with feminine faces and long hair whose voices haven't broken yet or masculine looking girls with short hair, baggy sports clothes and a strangely male attitude. On one occasion where the activity was split into boys and girls I almost made a terribly embarrassing mistake, almost...

The Future Criminals
There are just a few kids in all my more than thousand who fall into this category. For some reason they always sit at the back of class, playing with sharp objects or pencils or looking at me with their brows knitted into a look of intense anger or with empty, threatening eyes. The look one kid throws me gives me the creeps. I genuinely can't make eye contact with him.

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Maira Gall