Two weeks ago, when I had my first ever class here, I was warned by another teacher that I’d been given a collection of some of the worst behaved students in the school. She singled out a few in particular I should watch out for. Special attention was given to one in particular – a disproportionately large child with a strange name. From the start I saw what she meant. The students talked all the time, got up and walked around and even punched each-other occasionally. My well-meaning but largely half-hearted attempts to get them to behave were ineffectual, especially on the big one, and I left it at that.
In their third lesson the parents were supposed to come in for the last ten minutes. I got the kids playing a pictionary style game and turned around to let the parents in, but turned back to see the kids fighting in the middle of the floor. For ten minutes I attempted to break them up and get some control over the other screaming kids. Finally I had them playing the game in front of their folks and let them go. It was only when they’d all left the room that my assistant informed me that the fight started because the other kids were teasing the big one and that he’d been hurt and was crying. Visions of the parents going en masse to the front desk and demanding that I be fired and possibly sued went through my head.
The next day I implemented my new ‘three strikes and you’re out’ regime with some threatening looks and got through the class with little or no difficulty. At the end the big one came back in with his mother who “wanted to speak to me.” I braced myself for (at best) a telling off, but instead of complaining that I’d injured her child she started instead to tell me how much her kid enjoys the class and how much he likes me. I said he’d been very well-behaved in the lesson, which was true.
Since then he’s been one of the best behaved kids in the class.
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