Rough

Sometimes it really is rough being here and being a teacher. I feel really defeated at times, especially after I give a test. I’m often torn between being super nice or super strict. I mean, am I here so the students learn English, or am I here so they learn that cheating is not okay, or am I here for something else entirely. I really have no idea. I wish someone would just put a banner in my face at times that says, “CATE! YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE…!!!!!!!!!!!” Unfortunately that is never going to happen.

In case you forgot, my 8th form class is the only class I am teaching by myself. I really do love that class especially because I get to do everything exactly how I want to do it (although sometimes that is difficult because I’m still learning to be a teacher, but I guess I’ll always be learning?!). Anyways, in order to review for the test that my students had on Friday, we played Jeopardy one day with the vocabulary words and then I spend another full lesson reviewing the grammar from the entire unit. Since I gave them two extra class periods (which was over a 5 day span) to do their homework of taking 2 of the vocabulary words from the unit and making a visual/giving the translation in romanian/using them in a sentence- and they still failed to do it- I told them the test would be very heavy on vocabulary, so they best get to studying to exact words I gave them in the Jeopardy game. Yet somehow that still didn’t do any good because only one student knew most of the words. I was a stickler on the cheating during the test (one girl had the vocab written in a notebook she’d put in the pouch of her sweater and was looking through it- literally right in front of me)… others were talking… oh boy. I ended up taking 4 tests away before the class was done because I was tired of them cheating. Of course that backfired because those students kept talking about every 30 seconds to ask me for their test back which was a disruption to the class. Next time I think I’m going to try the “big black marker” which was taught to me by a fellow volunteer: when they cheat, I walk around and put a big, black, 2 on their test paper and that is what they will receive on their test. She claims it works with her students and they no longer cheat. We’ll see what happens…
But, due to all of this, it’s still quite frustrating for me. I mean, here I am, trying my best to teach them English- give them the most important and active vocabulary from the unit, and even give them the answers- and they still don’t take the time to memorize it. They one student I have been so happy with because she wants to learn clearly doesn’t because she was cheating, too.
What do I do here?
PS
Sorry for the vent.

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