Hi all. I’m in my first month as an ESL teacher, though I have years of experience in tutoring and K-12 teaching.
I teach at a "vacation" English school in a major U.S. city. Though the school is private, it operates a program at a major university nearby. During the summer, teachers work either at the language school’s main campus or on the university campus.
So I spent my first few weeks at the language school campus, with generally positive student feedback. Then, with very little notice, the school decided to move me to the university program.
From the very first day I arrived at the university, several students complained to the program director and demanded a new teacher. Apparently there are a few who refuse to attend class while I’m still teaching it. The nature of their complaints is that my class is "not fun enough." This was not a common complaint back at the language school campus. I’m a fun and entertaining teacher, and the program director is probably the only person who has ever told me I’m boring and/or not funny enough. I understand that their previous teacher was (a) very popular among the students and (b) gave the students little or no work. (We’re instructed to assign at least an hour of homework, but this teacher barely assigned any.) Thus, it’s possible this isn’t really about me, and is more about the other teacher.
Aside from that, does the school really have a reason to just move me around with little or no notice? Are they trying to test my loyalty or something? The reason they gave me is that they wanted to maintain a balance of male and female teachers. Is maintaining a gender balance really of such life and death importance? Does anyone see signs I’m about to lose my job or anything?
6 September, 2007 at 15:40
Total posts: 266
Reply To: Student complaints
It does sound like the issue could be more about the other teacher. It’s not an uncommon situation for students to develop a loyalty and devotion to a teacher. As a consequence they can be quick to complain about any change, regardless of the relative qualities of the two teachers. Given time, this often sorts itself out, as the shock of the change dies down, and as they discover that they are learning effectively with the new teacher. I remember one situation where students complained to the point of refusing to attend the class on being given a new teacher. They were eventually persuaded to give her a chance, and within a few months were singing her praises and refused to contemplate losing her!
You posted this a couple of weeks ago – how are you getting on with the class now?
Regarding moving you around between programs, there could be any number of reasons for this. Gender balance could be an issue. Some learners do respond better to male or female teachers, so it can be seen as beneficial to keep a balance. Have other teachers also been shifted around without warning?
29 November, 2007 at 13:33
Total posts: 7
Reply To: Student complaints
‘Not much fun’ sounds like they would rather be entertained by an EFL clown.