Apr 2, 2010

My Gansta Boys

OMG, I had two wannabe gangster dudes in my Basic 1 EFL class this month. They wore their pants down far enough that the crotch was around their knees, ball caps shoved down around their ears and pulled low over their faces, and gesticulated like they were some bad dudes from the 'hood as they slouched and strutted across the room, mumbling some unintelligible blabbing aimed at intimidating their classmates. They scared the crap out of me for a couple of days. Then, I made them take off the hats before coming into the class room and told them that in MY class, we are ladies and gentlemen (damas y caballeros.) AALLL of us. Things went along pretty well for about a week, and then they began to act out in class again.I couldn't figure out what they wanted or why they did it. One told me that "THEY" would kill him in the street if he didn't keep up his act. That ambiguous "THEY" reared its ugly head several times over the course of a month. All I could do was to tell them that "THEY" were not in the classroom, so this crap they were pulling wasn't acceptable. Change it or get out.

I found myself speaking pretty directly to them. Heh, that's one thing about the English language, American English in particular, that people in other countries find rude. But, hey, these two bad boys needed to hear it straight. I had to tell them today that their low grades were directly related to their behavior in class. It's very difficult to listen and participate in a meaningful way when you are spending all your energy and attention in acting like as a**...well, you can fill in that blank.

When students receive their grades, the teacher is expected to give some kind of explanation for the grades and some advice for improvement in the next cycle. I really dreaded giving these two their grades, but they were surprisingly accepting of their scores. One actually passed the class, although he thought he should have been at the top of the class. The other didn't make the cut, and felt kind of bummed out. I explained again that if he could have simply come to class with the idea of learning something and participating like a gentleman instead of some kind of baby gangster, he could have passed right along with his peers. It was really pretty sad to see the effort that he put into his final oral exam, and then to know that he was going to fail in spite of that one single last-ditch effort.

I wish he'd have put that much effort into his daily participation. He could have been great.

1 comment:

aighmeigh said...

I understand your frustration. I have students who are too focused on their image to acually function positively in a classroom setting. The really sad thing is, my students are in their late 20's and have no excuse for keeping this silliness up!