‘Open class’ is only spoken in hushed tones in my school. It started as a rumour, whispered from office to office, teachers faces one by one showing signs of panic. Then the rumours became reality. Dates were released and diaries consulted. Open classes were really happening. My gut reaction was, well, that it was just another class but as the tension around me started to build, I couldn’t help but get a little nervous and then swiftly forgot about them. Open classes were still over a month away.
A week before the open class, I produced my lesson plan and prepared my teaching materials. I was warned that there may be a large crowd for my lesson, parents were especially interested in the English programme and the Native English Teacher. On the day, classroom doors were wedged open and parents began to wander the halls, keen to see their children’s classes in action. Teachers walked to their classes like they were walking to their deaths. There were nervous, half smiles and suits replaced the usual polo shirts and combat trousers.
When my class finally rolled around, it was the last period of the day and I was ready to get it over and done with. I began the class, there were no parents. Half way through, there were still no parents. The Korean speaking teachers who were assessing my class made a run for it and there wasn’t a parent in sight. Then for the first time that day, I was truly worried, my fellow teachers were convinced the school would be over run. Where were they?
Back in the office, I shared the news of my parentless class and everybody let out a huge sigh of relief. They had all been thinking the same thing, had they scared the parents away? Were we doing something wrong? It turned out it was just a quiet year, perhaps there was a sale at Homeplus or a lunch special downtown. Perhaps they just had something better to do. They could have at least let the teachers know though, it would have saved a lot of unnecessary drama. But then that would have meant no celebratory pizza delivered to the office and no early finish to the day. These treats definitely made it worth the effort, another one tomorrow?!