Site Search:
 

Banner

Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index Teacher Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

My students all hate me, what should I do?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Adult Education
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Qinshihuang



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 11:01 am    Post subject: My students all hate me, what should I do? Reply with quote

OK, so maybe they dont all hate me but they all love to complain all the time about everyone and everything. I've been working for 6 months as an ESL teacher in [mainland] China and although my students say that they like me ("as a person") they are always complaining about the school/out textbook/me. some say that I am too strict and some say that I am too relaxed (lenient) and I just can't seem to find the perfect balance between strict/lenient. what can I do? am I alone or this common for ESL teachers in China? thanks for any advice/encouraging thoughts...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sita



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 1:01 pm    Post subject: pupils Reply with quote

I always tell my pupil the tale of father, a son and a donkey

The morale is you can t please all Twisted Evil

I suggest just be yourself and respect yourself and the students

best wishes
Siān/sita
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Rania



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 59
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the past, I have had students fill out a feedback form that tries to hand the responsibility - or part of the responsibility - to them.
I put questions like:

What do you like about this class? (forcing them to think about the good points, not only focus on the bad!)
Why?

What do you not like about this class?
Why?
How would you improve it?


I often had problems with teenage students who just could not be pleased. Armed with their feedback forms I could say "Well, we're focussing on this or that because the majority of you said you wanted to review it!"

You can also hand back some of the responsibility for class content. One group always moaned about my choice of text or debate, so I appointed some of the 'gang leaders' to come up with interesting texts or topics, from the internet, newspapers or radio. This makes students aware of the amount of time you invest in thinking about and planning your lesson... and of course, they can't complain about it being 'boring' if they choose the topics themselves. My rule was, the articles/topics had to be handed in a week in advance so I could review them - gave me time to prepare the class, think of ways to link it to e.g. grammatical themes, previous vocab points or whatever. Students are often more motivated when they have a more personal stake in the lesson's success.

Of course, I don't know how this would work with Chinese students, I hear they are quite different from Europeans. The worst thing to do is "try to please all of the people all of the time" - you can't.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rania



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 59
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the past, I have had students fill out a feedback form that tries to hand the responsibility - or part of the responsibility - to them.
I put questions like:

What do you like about this class? (forcing them to think about the good points, not only focus on the bad!)
Why?

What do you not like about this class?
Why?
How would you improve it?


I often had problems with teenage students who just could not be pleased. Armed with their feedback forms I could say "Well, we're focussing on this or that because the majority of you said you wanted to review it!"

You can also hand back some of the responsibility for class content. One group always moaned about my choice of text or debate, so I appointed some of the 'gang leaders' to come up with interesting texts or topics, from the internet, newspapers or radio. This makes students aware of the amount of time you invest in thinking about and planning your lesson... and of course, they can't complain about it being 'boring' if they choose the topics themselves. My rule was, the articles/topics had to be handed in a week in advance so I could review them - gave me time to prepare the class, think of ways to link it to e.g. grammatical themes, previous vocab points or whatever. Students are often more motivated when they have a more personal stake in the lesson's success.

Of course, I don't know how this would work with Chinese students, I hear they are quite different from Europeans. The worst thing to do is "try to please all of the people all of the time" - you can't.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
stephen



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where are you hearing about these complaints from?

Chinese management has an amazing ability to create problems. If they are providing you with this feedback then here are some suggestions.

1. Write your own feedback form and give it to the students, put on sensible & balanced questions, and see what comes back.

2. If possible get a colleague to observe a class and give feedback. Be careful about who you choose. They should be qualified and experienced and not subject to mindless acomodation of every Chinese whim. The last part is by far the most important!

It seems to me that if some students think you are to strict and some think you are too lenient you may well be striking a good balance. However, as with all complaints do your best to assess if they have any validity. Remember, if they are unfounded, and you do things to illustrate this, then it will put you in a much stronger negotiating position with your boss. With Chinese management evaluation is generally not a form of realistic assessment but rather a tool to fire or manipulate a teacher. (It sounds harsh, but I'd be suprised if many teachers in the Mainland or Taiwan disagreed.) So if this feedback comes from them, investigate the subject of these complaints yourself.

Incidentally, with full respect to Rania, I am skeptical about how successful the idea of having students help prepare materials for their lessons would be. It is not that I feel this isn't a good idea, but I think in the case of Chinese students they would not be able to handle the leap from spoon-feeding to this, certainly not quickly.

Also be aware that with teenagers this may be a case of them trying to circumvent your authority. This does not mean that you should not take it seriously; in Taiwan at least, the tail ways the dog regarding student discipline. If you don't have discipline problems, especially if your colleagues do, this could be a reason.

Anyway, good luck
Stephen
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Qinshihuang



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the helpful replies, people. I have already tried some of the suggestions mentioned and basically I think my problem has been that I have been trying to please all the students all the time which I guess is just not possible! another problem is that many students feel that they have been cheated by our school, which of course put them in a negative state of mind from the beginning...anyway, cheers again for all your helpful replies.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Roger



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 274

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ni hao, Qinshihuang,
I would go along with stephen's comment! Note that you are the smallest cog in the mechanism, and they can only take it out on you. You are there to please the crowds. The administration is no doubt totally inaccessible and insensitive. You have to set your own standards, and you should see to it that your students accept your standards, which in itself is no small feat!
It is not good for you to overly sympathise with your students and complain about the school! It can easily backfire. Your friendliest student could backstab you!
Setting certain objectives that some achieve easily, while others have to struggle will keep you out of school politics. Your situation is by no means unique. Let the students know that you will judge their performance. You are the expert, albeit a foreign one.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Roger



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 274

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ni hao, Qinshihuang,
I would go along with stephen's comment! Note that you are the smallest cog in the mechanism, and they can only take it out on you. You are there to please the crowds. The administration is no doubt totally inaccessible and insensitive. You have to set your own standards, and you should see to it that your students accept your standards, which in itself is no small feat!
It is not good for you to overly sympathise with your students and complain about the school! It can easily backfire. Your friendliest student could backstab you!
Setting certain objectives that some achieve easily, while others have to struggle will keep you out of school politics. Your situation is by no means unique. Let the students know that you will judge their performance. You are the expert, albeit a foreign one.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ann



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a similar experience in my Business English class where some studnets were not happy with my choice of examples while explaining a point. They thought it was off-topic. Yes, it was a cultural misunderstanding for the most part. Unlike you, I teach a whole mix of nationalities, so its really difficult to mold my teaching style to one particular group.
After I received my teacher evaluations, I was quite upset because I had gone out of my way to work with these students. I also posted my frustrations here. Later, I talked with an experienced teacher who is also my boss, and she gave me some excellent advice. And I know now that one cannot please everyone.
Other people in this forum have given excellent advice as well. Getting feedback from the students before the end of the course is a good idea. We do a needs analysis form for every student in class. And it is very helpful in planning lessons.
Just don't take every complaint personally. Try and look at it objectively (I know it's tough) and resolve the problem with your next class or batch of students.
speaking from(recent) experience,
Ann
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Adult Education All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Teachers College, Columbia University: Train to Teach English Here or Abroad
SIT

This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group