I’ve done a lot of thinking and soul-searching about this matter. You asked me, what’s really bugging me about the job, and what can I do to change it? I don’t have any solutions yet, but I’ve narrowed the problems down to three main issues:
1. As I have already mentioned to you, quitting is not an option. Doing so would seriously damage the reputation of the school. Hence I feel pressured and put upon. The bosses and staff are doing everything in their power to soothe and appease me (well, reinforcing the doors would be a good start). They don’t want me to quit. And I don’t want to let them down. Let’s just say that right now, quitting is not an option. That makes me feel trapped.
2. In total, I have 50 kids there. Roughly half of them are private school and the other half are public. Reconciling the level gap between them – and it’s a substantial one – is hard work for me. Put it this way: with the private school first-graders, I can immediately start with teaching them simple phrases and basic abstract concepts, because almost all of them have at least a couple of years of cram school under their belts, not to mention several overseas trips. However, with the public school kids, I have to spend months actually teaching them to sit still and concentrate for five minutes at a time. Then? We finally start with the alphabet. You see what I mean? I have a mix of all these kids in the same classes, and I’m expected to use the same textbooks for them all.
3. The biggest and most pressing problem is simply an architectural one: I have to share a floor with several other teachers and classes, and our rooms are separated only by thin plywood walls. The other teachers are mainly interns (student teachers from a local uni, average age 20) and they are not good at handling the kids. Some of the time – well actually most of the time – they completely lose control of their classes. The noise level is horrific. I find this deeply stressful, hence the hissyfits and the slammed/broken (crappy plywood) doors. Unfortunately this particular problem is the least likely to be solved, without major renovations taking place. But for me, it’s a big problem. It’s the real reason I’m so stressed and unhappy there.
Thanks for all and any input.