Skillsets and the Tarzan Yell

course topics teachingI interviewed for a great short-term teaching job the other day. I’m torn between OMG IT’S SO INTERESTING!!! I COULD LEARN SO MUCH THERE!!! and a more responsible worry that I need to stop grabbing interesting gigs and start planning steps to grow a proper career. I’m not going to be thirtysomething forever, you know, someday I’ll have to grow up.

Now, I love teaching and teenagers, but there’s something about teaching interviews that always irks me. I’m always asked a hypothetical scenario. What would you do if a student is aggressive, openly defiant, swinging from the fluorescent lights doing a Tarzan yell? (Note: one of these may be a slight exaggeration to express how far-fetched these are) Even though this happens every time, I never know how to answer these scenarios because there are so many stages before this happens. There are so many ways with teenagers to read moods and understand and ask the right questions and gently let teenage students tell you that they’re feeling like they want to swing from the lights doing a Tarzan yell, that it seems almost ridiculous to ignore it and let it fester until the problem’s wildly out of control.

Ask me what I’d do when 30 students giggle whenever they hear English spoken. Ask me what I’d do when my class of 5 6-year-olds becomes a class of 20 15-year-olds. Ask me what I’d do when the room stares at me in confusion over my fullspeed English. Ask me what I’d do when no girl students feel comfortable raising their hands if a boy has his hand up. Ask me what I’d do when a student cries in class. Because these, my friends, are what I can handle.

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