You’d better sit down. You might even want to pour yourself a drink. Maybe a double. I don’t know how to say this so think will just come out and say it:
I don’t really care what you do in your class.*
It’s true. I just don’t care. I can’t even begin to. Teaching my own classes are challenging enough. There is so much to think about. I don’t even know your students or your context or situation or beliefs, so how can I start to care about or judge what you are doing and what decisions you are making?
Use a book.
Don’t use a book.
Use a book and tear out the pages in order to make paper airplanes. It is really not my business at all, as far as I can see.
Feel free to pre-teach vocabulary. Or not.
TTT? Knock yourself out. 80% or 75% or 50%? What do I know? I do believe that not all TTT is the same and that simple percentages don’t tell us much but that might be a story for another day. The point is that it is not up to me.
TTT (The test-teach-test one) Go right ahead.
Neurolinguistic basic extra-sensory augmented reality programming? Why not? It makes no difference to me. I couldn’t care less. I could care less. It is not up to me. I wish you the best in all your future endeavors.
Languagology? Cool. Nice name. Best of luck.
VAKTification station. Sounds good.
Skills or knowledge. Knowledge and Skills. Skills and knowledge. Great.
New method? Old method? Designer method? Vintage-approach? Neo-Grammar Translation? Awesome.
Please feel free to be an anti-Luddite. Please feel free to ban pencils. Insist that students only communicate through QR codes if you wish. Get them to wear bluetooth earpieces and talk through those.
(Actually, you probably don’t want to do that. Nobody likes that.)
Demand medium for all I care.
Do your part to conserve A’s or contribute to grade inflation. Grade pass/fail. All fine in my eyes.
Extensive speaking! Intensive writing! Intense writing! Output! Input! Not my concern.
Meme? Theme? Rheme? The supreme dream team always up with a scheme? Sweet.
Develop professionally! Or don’t. Use the internet to do so! Or don’t. Use Twitter! Or not. It’s not up to me and it doesn’t really matter to me either. In fact, feel free to not develop professionally as I believe it will make things easier in the job market for those of us that choose to do so.
Why is that we teachers (especially English teachers?) seem to care so darn much what other people are doing in their classes?
[Perhaps I am just misreading it? Comments on how our perceptions differ are very much welcomed.]
I mean, are accountants judging each other about using or not using different accounting techniques? Do they care if their competitors ARE DOING IT WRONG? I don’t think so.
Are plumbers being bombarded by their peers about what they *should be doing and how they *should be doing it? I don’t know. Maybe they are. I guess what I am sensing [imagining?] is that teachers (not just on the internets mind you) are emotionally invested in what other teachers do and how they do it.
I can’t really think of a situation where I would care all that much about the pedagogical or andragogical choices someone else is making. I just don’t see how it is my business or how there is much of an upside for me to care.
You might be saying that I should care about the children (or students of whatever age) and that everyone deserves a better education. I can see where you are coming from. I truly can, but, to be honest I just can’t bring myself to care. I can’t do it.
Even if the teacher is so bad (whatever that means), this is likely just one teacher of many that the students will have in their lives. Not such a big deal.
Yeah, exams and careers and college and everything. I fully realize these things exist and are important. But I didn’t hire the teacher or sign up for their class or have the government decide that this teacher was suitable or participate at all in whatever random events conspired to put that human in the classroom to teach. It’s not my business.
I have been thinking about this for about 6 months.
Not constantly. Off and on, like.
I just can’t think of any reasons to care about how another English teacher conducts their business.
The only things that came to mind were sexual, emotional or physical violence. In that case I’d probably feel most comfortable contacting the authorities.
Anything that might be considered bad teaching in some circles does not concern me. I think some people would be more inclined to care about how other teachers are teaching if they are going to have the same students after the “bad” teacher. While I suppose I’d prefer it if the students learned something and were not continually placated with hangman and candy, I just figure that every class is going to present some challenges so I don’t need to get all up in someone else’s business on the basis of potential damage caused to a group I might teach some day. I think it is my job to teach the students I have and that worrying about how their previous teachers teach is not super productive.
I can’t really see the point in worrying about what any other teacher does.
*I guess the disclaimers/potential exceptions here are:
1) If I care about you as a person and I want you to be be successful and happy.
2) If I am paid to care about your teaching and development I will then care.
(Currently accepting offers)
3) If you are sharing your experiences in a way (BLOGGING!) in a way that can help me learn and develop more I do care about that, but if I am being really honest I’d say I
selfishly care more about the sharing and the thinking than what you actually do in class.
a) I was not talking about anyone in specific or any group of people.
b) I was not really talking about a trend I have seen on the internet.
c) I was perhaps talking to myself (or previous versions of myself) and convincing myself not to care so much (read: judge) what other teachers do.
d) I was trying to have a bit of fun.
e) I wanted to say (was trying to say) that I think it is great when people blog about teaching English. I am amazed at all the amazing blogs out there. I think sharing such experiences as well as strategies, techniques, methods, memes, approaches, techniques, ideas, thoughts and feelings is wonderful and I have gotten a lot out of it.
f) I wasn’t saying I don’t want to hear about what people do, just trying to say that I don’t have a say in the matter. In the comments below @TOMtesol compared “interested in” and “care about” in below and I suppose that is an apt comparison. I am very interested in what teachers do and are doing but the specific choices they make are not something I feel I have the right to care about or judge.
g) ) I suppose my main point is simply that it is not my place or my concern to care about how other people do the job that they are hired to do so I will do my best not to judge them or try to convince them that my way (which is based on my beliefs and experiences) is the best way.
h) Sorry to make you read all this way before finally getting to the point. It seems to me that in this field there is a lot of shoulding and judging without knowing the situation. I don’t think this is helpful (although it really comes easily to me) so I am going to do my best from refraining from it.
i) What you choose to do is up to you.
A long time ago I worked in a country that was not Korea. I worked with 5 other teachers. I was among the youngest 2 teachers there (so you can get a sense about how long ago this was.) We worked in the same location but taught separate classes, which means that my students always came to my class and never went to someone else’s even though we were teaching the same pages from the book or the same language points or whatever. For whatever (possibly silly) reason the teachers with the most experience were assigned to teach the highest levels. In case you care, I was assigned the lowest level. The teachers assigned to the highest level included an extremely experienced teacher who had taught a foreign language in the states for around 20 years and a not so experienced teacher who had just received her MATESOL. She mentioned it so frequently that the experienced teacher asked her once if the ink was dry yet. For a variety of reasons they did not get along. One day she was doing some sort of vocabulary teaching and perhaps her students found it challenging. Her counterpart decided to share materials with her during the break time because she was “quite obviously struggling with the vocab part.” She didn’t take too kindly to this and a shouting match broke out in the staff room. I was mortified as well as worried about coffee being hurled all over my brand new computer. I remember wondering to what extent it is really my job to care about how other teachers are doing their teaching.
(In retrospect, perhaps he didn’t actually even care about the students and just seized an opportunity to twist the knife on someone he didn’t get along with)
Now, this is obviously an extreme example and there were a variety of factors beyond simply caring about the students of another teacher but it has stuck with me for a long time.
A (non) example:
A friend who happens to be a reader wondered if an example might help make my point more clear. I don’t really have a clear one except to say that I sometimes get a strange feeling when I read about/hear about/see teachers doing things that seem “wrong” to me. Some kind of emotional reaction. Why are they doing it wrong? Why can’t they see the light, I wonder. This post was in some ways an attempt at convincing myself that it is not really up to me to ensure that everyone agrees with me or is doing their job in accordance with what I believe is good teaching. My job is to worry about my students.