The Oath

Higher-level English students should know better, and I’m sick and tired of my Level 3 class and their unnecessary Chinese. It’s just lazy or rebellious, and I don’t approve of either of those behaviors. So I showed them how serious I was today. I made them take an oath, and English-speaking oath.

I lined up all of my students outside and stood at the door with thick children’s dictionary in my hands. Each student had to lay their right hand on the dictionary and repeat these words after me:

“I, ________, hereby swear that I will only speak English in this classroom.”

The jokesters were sent to the back of the line until they took it seriously. There was definitely a higher sense of awareness about the language being spoken in the classroom after that. I think I may have them do a written oath that they all sign. This would be displayed on the wall and a memo about it would go home to all the parents.

It’s funny, because I have swiveled back and forth between a liberal and staunch position about Chinese in the classroom. It literally comes in mood swings for me. And this semester, I’m in an English mood! A staunch and strict one at that!

On a lighter note, I went in to work early today for a lunch meeting with the cram school’s CEO. It was a good meeting. The branch I work at is on overhaul this semester because from the business side of things numbers aren’t looking too hot. So we’re all working together to improve the situation. I really appreciate being a part of this process and am finding myself putting in more work than I would on a normal day. There’s something extremely gratifying about working for a company that calls upon their employees in times of trouble. I’m not ¬†dispensable; we’re actually all significant pieces of a puzzle that make this whole machine run forward.

BigByte definitely gets the nomination for the morale-boosting award.

Enforcing an English-only policy in my classroom even when I myself have to fight the Chinese that’s become so naturally for me to say makes me think of parenting. (Parents, please correct me if I’m wrong!) In spite of the complaints and sassy attitudes of the children, and as annoying as that can be to put up with for the adult, there IS a reason for all of it. This is where the role of age enters the stage: the adult sees what the child does not.

So I will continue to be staunch and strict about English being the only language spoken in my classroom. Because I see what my students do not (the meetings, the money, the parent-school relations, the project planning, the curriculum and test writing). They just wouldn’t get it. And that’s OK, because they’re freaking kids!

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