How grateful are your students?

How often do you hear those magical ‘thank you’ words at the end of a lesson, a term, or even the end of the year? I’m not talking about adult students (well, some of them), I’m talking about your average teenager, and even some of the younger learners.
It doesn’t take a second…
Photo by Martin Wright
When I lived in Bangkok the students were so appreciative. Thai kids were great. They had respect for their teachers. Parents made sure their children thanked the teacher, and at times bought them gifts. I used to think that when the students stood up when I entered the class was a bit over the top, but it was lovely at the end of term when they thanked me for all the hard work, even if it was with a fluffy pink towel.
I think Chinese students are generally appreciative too. I taught a fantastic bunch of teenagers in Australia. Fair enough, it took them a couple of weeks to open up, but they really showed their appreciation and made teaching them a dream.
So what is it with the younger Spanish students? I’m not saying there a bad bunch. Where I teach, in a small village on the outskirts of Seville, they are good fun, hard workers and polite (generally). But they lack that ability to show a bit of appreciation. I’ve been over here eight years now and at the end of the year maybe two or three students will take the time to say thanks and wish me a good holiday.
The parents of the children are all fantastic, so why don’t the youngsters get it? This year I had a couple of emails from my FCE students letting me know their results and thanking me; I was over the moon. While doing PET examining this week a couple of the adults that I didn’t know thanked me for my time. 
I’m not sure how appreciative I was at school, I can’t remember, but I’m sure we always used to make effort to at least say goodbye to our teachers at the end of term and every now and then chip in to buy the teacher a present. I guess it’s changed these days, but why should it? I’m not in this for the money; it’s the satisfaction of seeing students improve their English. But when you put your heart and soul into something and it feels like you don’t get much back then you start to question things…
Bully the Bull
Photo by tackyjulie
Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe I should just get on with my job and be quiet. Or maybe I should start teaching my students more manners, making them appreciate they have the opportunities to learn English to make their lives better. Try to show them that it doesn’t hurt to say thanks every now and then.

I’m not asking for a lot. I don’t want a new teddy bear, some horrible gloves, or a bull ornament for my garden (got one already), I just want a small thank you, even just a mumbled one would be fine.
I’d be interested to know what you guys think, especially teachers based in Spain, but also from others around the world. Do you think your students show their appreciation enough? In what ways do they? Are you even bothered or am I ranting about nothing?

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your comment!

2 thoughts on “How grateful are your students?

  1. Part of the problem is that many of the students we teach aren't in the lessons of their own accord. Teenagers, especially, would probably be far happier out with their friends than stuck in school. Why should they feel that they have to thank you when you've deprived them of time down the coffee shop?

    I guess it's a matter of waiting till they've passed the FCE – that's when I used to get taken out for meals by the class but before then it was pretty barren.

  2. Totally agree. They should hate us really, taking them away from their mobiles for 90 minutes, we should be resented like an annoying granny. But they will learn in time that we are actually the most important people on Earth. Thanks for writing.

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