Thursday the English teachers got together for a departmental meeting to discuss the current third-year students and how their classes have gone this year. I waited through about a half hour of debate over whether a particular student deserved to flunk. Finally, we got to give feedback on classes, and I brought up the misery that is Listening class. It's a waste of time, for the most part. Only about five students actually try to listen. I pointed out that, considering the naughty behavior of the current second-year students in their Listening class, nothing is going to improve next year unless serious changes are made.
My suggestion was to make Listening an elective, so that only those who want to practice listening will take it. Apparently, however, that's not an option.
Someone then suggested that the problem might be that the class is too big. (There are nearly 40 students in the second-year Listening class.) It was proposed that the class be divided in half.
For those who might not immediately understand the ramifications of this, here's a little math. I teach Listening two hours per week for both the second-years and third-years, for a total of four hours per week. Dividing the class in half effectively doubles this, because I would have to teach each half separately. In other words, this plan means I would have four extra hours of work per week...teaching the class I hate most.
I was not exactly jumping for joy.
It's not any better for the other teachers, either, since some poor soul will have to share my suffering in the extra four hours of Listening. On top of that, the remaining teachers would have to shoulder the burden of teaching EIGHT more hours of some other class to keep occupied the half class of students who aren't in Listening. This problem may result in the change not happening, though I won't know for a while.
Personally, I think making Listening an elective would be far simpler, but oh well. Also, I highly doubt that making the class size smaller is going to improve behavior. However, I made the request that at the very least the class should be moved out of the computer lab (with all its distractions) and into the seminar room instead. The only reason it's in the computer lab is so the teacher can play the listening CD over the computer headphones...but why bother? Why not just use a regular CD player? Or, failing that, why not just have me read the script? That's the whole point of having a native speaker in the class, after all.
Anyway, I'll have to wait and see how this turns out.