What to do when ‘ winey’ Students complain in an English class. Mastering the teacher pupil relationship in English teaching/efl.
Unless you are a TEFL-guru-super ninja-Confucius-style English teacher, your students will complain. Yes………. they will. In fact, even if you were the ninth Buddha reincarnation of Naom Chomsky – linguist extraordinaire … your pupils would still complain.
Your first instinct will be to give em a telling off and tell them to get on with the class. This instinct is not to be obeyed… in fact you’re missing a good opportunity not only to see your classes from the students eyes but to face and deal with criticism – a key factor in manning up and developing your professional character.
The first tip I can give you when the students complain is the most important. DON’T FREAK OUT, DON’T LET YOUR EYES GO WATERY, DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY (unless they make it personal) DON’T WALK OUT OF THE CLASS AND THINK OBSSESIVELY ABOUT IT.SEE IT AS AN ENTIRELY NATURAL PROCESS IN THE ADULT TEACHING ENVIRONMENT. It has happened to all of us – even the best teachers I know. The key is establishing whether the students are being WLBs or you’re failing in your job.
However, before we examine those issues let me give you some good advice: DON’T GET THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Be proactive and from the first class tell them that every two weeks you’re going to be asking them if they have any requests any feedback etc etc. However, don’t say it like a TEFL gimp* – let them know that you may not concede their request if it doesn’t fit in with the groups larger interests.
If you do this then issues will emerge before they become ISSUES.
Bye bye everybody and remember – try not to fill the cup.
*WLB ‘winey little bi*ches’ note, this is a gender neutral term – not aimed at women students but all students who are WLBs. For use of the term see Jay and Silent Bob below: afoulmouthed thoroughly deplorable film for stupid little stoners. This is offensive and should be illegal. Watch it and be disguisted by the foul panguage.
** TEFL gimp A mediocre teacher; also being exploited by his/her boss; doesn’t control his/her classroom; is generally floating around with no clear vision personally, professionally or morally. What more can you say – a TEFL gimp