Monday, October 25, 2010

Growing Pains of Co-teaching: Why doesn't my co-teacher listen to my ideas? (Part 3)

Continued from (1:Co-teaching: A Ticking Time Bomb & Top 4 rants of NETs...).

Why doesn't my co-teacher listen to my ideas?
In my experience, this was a common rant amongst NET's in my group.

 So you're the new NET in a school which doesn't yet know how to implement you into their structure.... While Korean teachers may initially, ask you to lead certain activities or offer ideas on lesson plans,  they still want the "controlling hand". Wouldn't you if you'd been teaching your own class for years?

You may come out with very good ideas, brilliant even and wonder why they're continually getting
shot down. Answer?

1) If your ideas really are brilliant, it's possible that you're looking too good and this makes Korean teachers look bad.
...and that is not good. I'm not being a jerk by saying this. This was told to me by one of my school colleagues when I was making Powerpoint lessons from scratch and the rest of my co-teachers didn't know how to use the software at all. It wasn't my intention make any of my co-teachers feel or look bad; in fact, I thought I was just helping. Afterall, at EPIK orientation, we were led to believe most Korean teachers would use Powerpoint to conduct lessons in the classroom.

Anyways, I  appreciated that my colleagues' honesty and courage in explaining that to me; and ironically, I only taught myself that Powerpoint the day I had to make my first Introduction presentation for my class!

It's not that you're never supposed to look good. It's just that a lot of us come in raring to go.

Is it right for us to swoop in on a white horse and assume we know what's best for our Korean students after having spent just a few weeks with them?
Saddles blazing, we think to ourselves-- we're gonna make a positive difference! Many new NETs have ideas of what they'd like to do in the classroom, veer off textbooks, introduce new and exciting ideas, before they've even gotten settled into the basic structure.  Sure, the textbooks and CD-ROM seems silly, naive and simple to us; some think it's boring and that they can create better lessons. But Whoa, Tonto! This textbook/CD is the national curriculum and we've got to respect that. We forget to give the original curriculum and structure a chance before trying to change it.

If you want to have your ideas injected into the classroom program or feel you have something important to contribute:

Here two ways I've personally learned to play the game (it may or many not work for you)~

a) Sell your idea as being a result of a KT-NET "collaboration" 

b) Sell your idea but defer all rights to it and pose it as your co-teacher's idea.
This means giving up recognition for your ideas (something westerners aren't conditioned to do).
c) Speak with your co-teacher calmly and express interest in contributing ideas and taking more active roles in class.

What are some ways you get your classroom ideas heard?

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