Do they like me or hate me and why can’t I tell?

Friday nights have been my most challenging school nights all year.  For whatever reason, I have two of the most annoying classes one right after the other.  Every week I look forward to Friday with mixture of anticipation and dread.

Like every Friday the last one was no different. One class in particular is packed with a host of little demons. Individually, I actually like all of these kids quite a bit. But when put together, they’re like a pack of wild animals.  They sniff around for my weak spots and do their level best to find new ways to piss me off.

Its their only entertainment in life, apparently.

Every week it’s something different.  They’ll draw stuff on the white board when my back is turned. Shake my pop when I’m out of the classroom. Take my sticky balls and attach them to the ceiling, hide behind stacks of desks and pretend they’re not there, draw all over the board whenever my back is turned and other shenanigans. One time over a ten minute break they took my dry erase markers and made a pointillist painting over my entire dry erase board.  When I came back, they laughed uproariously at my expression and then begged me to find their hidden names in the entire mess.

I was impressed with their cleverness in that one.

For months, one kid would call me handsome, after I explained that handsome is a word better applied to men. Then, when I just smiled sweetly and thanked him for the compliment, he took to calling me ugly. “Aw, teacher, you’re so ugly”. I listened to that for about three weeks before I finally told him it was disrespectful. Time will tell if that has any effect.

Instead, as a class, they’ve now reverted to calling me handsome, mean, crazy, or evil depending on their mood and if they like what I’m doing or not.

They rag on each other just as much, I have to admit. And I’m not above reproach either. I get them as  good as they get me from time to time.  But honestly, I don’t have the patience to deal with it every week.

I share this class with another teacher who teaches them on Mondays, so thankfully I only deal with them once a week.

On Monday, it being a rare nice day in Taipei, I decided to do some of my assessment and grading out in front of the school at a little patio table that no one ever uses.  It’s nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and the not so fresh air that is a trademark of Taipei.

I couldn’t have been out there for more than five minutes before one of the kids saw me, gave me a fake little smile and wave, and went busting into the school at full speed to tell his little friends about what “crazy teacher” was up to now.   Not even two minutes after that, he came sidling back out to peek over my shoulder and tell me I’m sooooo crazy.

When I didn’t rise to the bait he left and I heaved a sigh of relief.

Too soon.

Next, another kid came out to peer over my shoulder and read the reports I was writing.  I told him to get lost and ignored him.

Another sigh of relief.  Again too soon.

For when next I glanced up, there were five of them ranged behind me cackling like little hyenas.

That was kind of funny, I have to admit.  Why they bothered though, I honestly have no idea.

But seriously, do these kids like me or hate me? I can’t figure them out.

When I was a kid, I was usually quiet in class. Even when I wasn’t I didn’t do everything I could to get on my teachers’ nerves. Especially not the teachers I liked.

So what gives? If you know…by all means, enlighten me.