Sunday, July 27, 2014

Is it wrong to request a substitute?

So while it’s summer in Korea and the public schools are beginning holidays, I’m here at my school working as usual, and planning a trip to Nepal. Since I will be away on a Friday when classes are held, I have a substitute coming into my class. The way substitutes work at my school is, since there’s 7 other foreign teachers, we fill in for each other’s classes, based on a schedule the office provides.
When I was in Canada, the school district I worked for allowed teachers to request substitutes, which is a fair practice. Here, the administrators determine who subs based on the schedule and their secret magic formula, which none of us truly understands how it works.
So about two months ago I went on holidays to China and missed a Friday. Most of my students survived the day without me, my classroom was intact and the students were happy to have me return (which was super nice to see). One of the foreign teachers who substituted for my oldest and most fluent class however gave them troubles. They claimed the teacher yelled at them the entire class, read answers right from the answer book, and that they could not understand the way this teacher spoke. This concerned me a bit, but I let it slide.

Lately that same teacher has been getting complaints from parents about his classroom management and demeanour towards the students. I had lost most of my trust in that teacher after hearing my students describe their experience on that Friday and a few recent actions have dwindled any trust or faith in that teacher’s abilities that remained.

The class that particular teacher is substituting for me in the near future is a difficult class to manage. I have found what works and feel as though I only trust a few teachers with them. Am I being too protective of my students?!? Last time in my sub plan for that teacher the students had 3 pages of work to complete in a 40 minute time period, which if I were there would take approximately 30 minutes to complete with 10 minutes of conversations to practice their speaking skills. They completed 1 ½ of the assigned pages. The class coming up has 11 pages and 10 questions to get through. I barely manage to complete that amount in 40 minutes, but it is doable. I just don’t trust that the substitute will even complete half of the work.

In a country where any form of confrontation is looked negatively upon, should I be able to request a different teacher as a substitute?

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