The College Experience: In the Ghetto

by - 8:00 PM

If there was one thing these kids DIDN'T do, it was keeping calm and
learning German
If you've been following this blog for a while, you might have noticed that I didn't do my monthly College Experience post last month. If you're new here: Hi! Hope you find something interesting to read!
Anyway, I didn't post last month because I didn't have time to write a post. I was also in a state of shock near the end of February. You see, I study German, so I can become a high school teacher. As part of my education, I have to do an eight-week internship during my freshman year, teaching German at a high school. But the school and kids I ended up with...

Before I continue this post, I have to give a short lesson in Dutch history.
When Dutch laborers became spoilt back in the 60s and didn't want to work in factories anymore, my country needed other people to do the crappy jobs. We found these people in Marocco and Turkey. Those people cam to our country, but stuck together. A lot of them didn't become part of the Dutch society and their cultures clashed with ours. They felt safe among their own people and thus certain parts of cities turned Turkish and Maroccan. Flash forward fifty years and we still see this pattern.
My internship school is in the south of Rotterdam, a place where a lot of immigrants from Arabic countries ended up. Most of the kids in my classes had names my western tongue couldn't pronounce, like Kaoutar and Anouar and Berkehan. They had a very particular attitude towards me: I'm a milky white Dutch polder girl. Very definitely not one of them and thus not worthy of respect.
My first day was traumatizing. I came home in a state of shock. All the glares and disrespectful gestures from high school kids had taken their toll on me.
My mom listened to my stories and said: 'Think of it as teaching in a ghetto.' From then on I went to my internship school while humming Elvis Presley's 'In the Ghetto'.

I came across some huge problems. I am fairly short for a Dutch girl. I am also on the skinny side and look a bit breakable. I am kind and have confidence in my students. All those things worked in my disadvantage at this school.
I wasn't able to do anything creative during my classes. I couldn't make the class more fun, because fun led to hyperactivity and fights. I couldn't turn my back for a second. The kids went crazy as soon as I stopped talking and sometimes just laughed at me, straight in my face, when I said they had to do some homework for out next class.
I knew fairly quickly that I loved teaching, but not in the ghetto. The kind, quite patient Envy had to make place for a teacher from Hell. I honestly didn't like myself anymore. It did have some effect: the kids were a little more like kids instead of little monsters when I showed up in killer heels and with a death stare on my face.

It doesn't sound like I had fun teaching, but there were moments when I absolutely loved it. The 8th graders were terrible, but I fell in love with the 10th graders. I couldn't stop laughing when a Maroccan and a Dutch boy in 10th grade ended up having a discussion about the importance of gravy. An girl in 8th grade stole my heart when she had to describe someone in German and said: 'The girl has hair and eyes.' There were some great kids and teaching them was awesome, but even older teachers with tons of experience have a hard time teaching at this school.

As I am typing this, I have four more days of internship to go. I will get through it and one day I'll be a good teacher, but right now I'm very disappointed with my college experience. I'm a confused freshman who's lost a bit of faith in humanity. Next year's internship will be better though. I'm sure of it.

Stay Awesome!

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6 Fellow Ramblers

  1. That's the problem with us high schoolers; we can often be very immature and sass people of. I have gotten used to intern teachers teaching since seventh grade and I know how hard their job is. The intern teacher I have for choir often gets slapped with attitude; it's sad, and hard, but it must be endured.

    xoxo Morning

    1. I wish it was just immaturity and sass. This is just disrespect. I mean, I bet your parents raised you very well and taught you to have respect for teachers... But theses kids don't even have respect for their own parents...
      On the bright side: I now know I can endure this attitude. I'm just very disappointed that these kids can't even be trusted with something as simple as packing their backs for the day...

  2. Oh! You never said they were Arab immigrants. I could've told you some interesting words that might have gotten them to like you a bit (maybe).
    Cheer up! If you got through this without banging your head on the wall and knocking yourself out, you're meant to be a teacher! :D

    1. I didn't tell they were Arab immigrants because it's a bit of a controversial topic around here. If I'd said it right from the start, people would've said I'm prejudiced when it comes to these people. Which I'm not, by the way. I've given every single one of them a chance, but that chance was gone as soon as I saw the first disrespectul looks coming my way.
      Teach me the words anyway! You know I love learning words in different languages ^-^
      My coach says I will have some serious trouble becoming a teacher because I'm having such a hard time, but I just think: it can't get any worse than this. If I can almost do this, then I'll sure be able to teach at my old high school :)
      I didn't bang my head on a wall, but I did have a long cry one day. All part of the job, they say...

  3. Rude horrible people. That is such a horrible experience. Being laughed at and treated like a wierdo. If that happens to you again, you should stand up for yourself because those people are the real weird. I mean come on, who just picks on an innocent kind person like you. Thats weird. I hate bullies. Don't let them defeat you guys!

    1. I know the problem is fully theirs, something in the way these kids were brought up is very, very wrong. I don't let them bully me, but you can't really stand up for yourself wehn you're the teacher. You can't really attack them, since you're a role model. The only thing you can do is show them you're not afraid and kick them out of class when they go too far. When you're a student, a teacher seems to be the mightiest person in the classroom, but that's really not true.


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