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As a teacher, what kind of attitude would be desirable?

I am an English teacher in Korea. (I am not in a school, but in some private educational institute.)
I teach young teenagers--11 to 16 yrs.
Since we have a quite tight curriculum, I just have to force them to study really hard and keep up with my class even though I know that it would be not that helpful to them.
I even think that it can be devastating to their creativity.
I really don't want to be the one who ruins their creativity.
I sometimes hate to point to out their inappropriate behaviors.
For example, we are supposed to scold them if they draw some ridiculous cartoon characters on their textbooks because that means they don't concentrate on their study. But I sometimes want to let them do it. It can be helpful to foster their creativity, right?
I just want them to study freely and I want to let them enjoy some interesting activities.
But my right is limited. There's a bunch of schedule in this institute.
Since it's a kinda big institute, my opinion is not accepted.
Am I not disciplined?
Well, if so, I wouldn't mind at all because I don't think being just strict would be the right answer for this situation.
How can I change this strict way of education in this country?
What would be the desirable attitude for me?
Any ideas?


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  • Jun 10 2012: All sorts of teaching styles can be effective, but having one mesh with the society that they are growing up in is very important. The lessons I learned best in schools often where slightly outrageous where we got to see the teacher for whom they were, and not a mark of the school.(Joshua Foer talk on memory I think is very accurate on this point.) I had a Physics teacher that would fail to shut is car door when driving out of the parking lot letting the forces he taught do the work. Rigid structures are often ripe for creative ways to get around the rules and tapping the students creativity for that often can make them learn faster and better. Randy Pausch Last Lecture(viral video) also has some really good ideas if you can be free to impose some of your own metrics teaching the class.
    The desirable attitude can vary quite a lot. My second grade math teacher was the first teacher I ever heard cuss a parent out, tough as nails and you didn't want to disappoint her. My fifth grade teacher always expressed a blind faith that i had found the correct answer(leading me to some very creative math problem solving techniques.) Being honest with your style is the more important. Also do not allow the students to control the classroom unless you can get their goals properly aligned with yours.
    Often students would rather have fun than study, so finding ways to co-mingle the two can be good, but is always dangerous. Finding places to practice English also can be good that are away from the classroom or boring exercises. Make sure both you and your students know they value of what they are learning in the classroom.
    The final and most important point is set your expectations high. With the internet and modern tools they can get a lot of exposure to English in various forms use these as teaching aids. Just because something written or spoken beyond their general understanding level doesn't mean they cant help you break it down into understandable parts.

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