This is a repost of what I just posted in our AJET forum:

I did a class today that I pulled straight from Teamwork Tokushima, using examples from Sunshine that the JTE I no longer team-teach with assured me that the kids knew. The game we were playing was the “wake up” game…I’ll think of a sentence, everyone’ll put their heads down, I’ll write one word of the sentence on the board, and one kid at a time will look up for each word I write, and afterwards they’ll all collaborate to form the sentence.

It seemed like it was going just fine…until just now, one of the teachers came up to me. Normally he’s really jovial and friendly, but he wasn’t smiling at all, and immediately, he told me that there was a problem with one of my classes.

So one of the kids in the first of the two classes I taught today (2 sannensei homerooms) isn’t very good at English. Because of my crazy shougakkou schedule, I really had no way of knowing that because I just don’t have a chance to get close to my kids and know (besides some obvious examples) which are strong and weak students in English. He messed up on a word, “chocolate.” (the sentence was something like, “This chocolate cake is very good.” Lifted straight out of Sunshine, as all the sentences I used were.)

After class, the two boys in his row came up to him and were asking him why he couldn’t do it, teasing him about how it was such easy English, that sort of thing. The boy, upset by the teasing, retaliated by HITTING one of the kids, who fell down. I think the kid fell and hit a window and broke it, because as I was walking by the homeroom on my way to my second class, no kids were there, but five teachers were standing around a window which hadn’t been broken when I was teaching in there earlier.

So in essence, my game, intended to be an easy and fun English review, caused a fight to break out, and it caused some major trouble today.

I feel mortified. I feel absolutely horrible and upset about this. And I have no idea what to do now or how to act. I’m most likely going to ask to opt out of teaching the sannensei next week, just in case, and that’s probably what they’ll have me do anyway. I have no idea if they’ll have me teach the ichinensei tomorrow (though I know I shouldn’t have a problem, because I’ve taught all those kids for 8 months while in shougakkou, so that same level of intimidation isn’t there with them). The teacher said that it’s okay, that it happened outside of class…but it happened because of my game. I’ve NEVER had a problem like this before. EVER. My shougakkou classes occasionally have snags because of really shy kids who freeze up and start crying in class, but never ANYTHING like this.

I really could use some advice right now. And some words of encouragement. I just don’t know what to do.

[EDIT, 3:35 PM] The kid is fine; he just scraped his hand up. Even though the nurse was really kind and told me not to worry and that it was a surprising situation but that it’s okay, I still feel really troubled about the whole thing. I’ve also gotten a lot of reassurance from the other ALTs. It really was out of my hands, but the way the teacher was talking, it seemed like part of it fell on me…I don’t know if there was anything I could have done to make things not happen that way, or if having a teacher in the room with me would have helped the situation, but I doubt it, especially since this happened after I left the room. There had to have been a bullying issue already.

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