I have a unique chance to influence my future and the futures of many potential students and that has created a moral dilemma for me.
First a little history: Several years ago the school where I work had elective classes for junior high school second and third year students (8th and 9th graders). The classes alternated between being fun if we had students sign up who were interested in English and being tedious if the students had little interest in English but wanted to hang out with their cool friend whose parents made him take the course.
The courses were pitched, along with electives offered by Japanese teachers, in a large sales pitch meeting. My chance to do the sales pitch came after I’d spent a year teaching a particularly bad group of students who, despite being in an English elective they chose to be in, didn’t understand why I spoke English the entire time.
When I gave my sales pitch, I spoke English, reasonably slowly, and told them if they couldn’t understand me, they shouldn’t sign up. After I finished I got lots of “wow, are you F@#king serious?” looks from several teachers. Only one student signed up for the course but to this day I remain unrepentant about that pitch. (It helped that he was an awesome student.)
My current dilemma is that I’m teaching a pair of demo classes for the open campus at the school where I work. I therefore have the chance to influence potential future high school students before they become actual high school students.
The devil over my right shoulder is telling me to put on a great pitch because “more students equals more money for the company you work for and you will get, well, not much actually but you will have the satisfaction of having done your best. Etcetera”. The devil over my left shoulder is telling me to “drive the f@#kers away; drive the obnoxious little f@#kers away. Keep them out of the school. Make them someone else’s problem. Don’t let them become your problem. Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia!”
In the end I suspect I’ll be kind and courteous and put on a decent class, especially as parents will also be in the room and others will be staring in the windows. Even I believe in making a good first impression sometimes.
I will make the students do a short speech, though. That ought to drive some of them away. In the nicest possible way, of course.