Another Brick In The WallFebruary 25, 2005
“Wrong, Do it again! If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don”t eat yer meat? You! Yes, you behind the bikesheds, stand still laddy!”
That song does remind me of doing PE in my shorts on a cold autumn day because I forgot my kit; but no teacher is completely perfect. Everybody is human and sometimes you’ll find yourself disliked and when this situation occurs there’s little that you can do about it except ‘get on with your job.’
Also, students will be disruptive, chatter to their friends, they won’t do their homework, and they’ll refuse to join in activities, turn up late and even be rude and abusive to the teacher. In Cambodia I’ve heard rumors of guns being pulled out at the teacher (if that happens to you, my only advice would be to wear a bullet proof vest). This is a sensitive issue and people in the ESL world have varying opinions as to what to do; here are some ideas, which are not mine but more ‘the tried and tested
Take attendance. ‘Here sir’
This automatically creates an appropriate teacher/student relationship. Then seat them as you see fit. You could change the seating daily as to encourage more pair work and make them comfortable with each other. Also doing this sends a shot over the broadside to students who could cause problems later on. Rearranging seating much later on in the class term seldom works and will only disrupt an already established routine.
Be strict. ‘No more Mr. Nice Guy.’
Remember that it’s easier to soften up later than to try to restore discipline when your students have you down as a soft touch. Many new teachers start off wanting to be the cool, friendly well liked teacher teacher only to find thenselves with an undisciplined and out of control class. So read the riot act. but always be firm and fair, if even your best student behaves badly then you need to punish them as you would any other
Talk to them. ‘See me after class.’
This sounds a trifle banal but speaking to a disruptive student out of class and away from their peers often works. Alternatively a Khmer teacher or the DOS get involved. I’d add that listening to student requests and complaints and perhaps changing tack is not always ‘giving in’. If you listen to them, they will listen to you. You don’t have to immediately report the student but could instead invite him/her for a causal chat.
Use activities. ‘Blah blah blah.’
Teachers can make it very clear that the activities that students enjoy the most will only be used when the whole class in behaving. This strategy uses peer pressure and is effective. No student want to be responsible for the whole class not getting a treat.
Another strategy is to keep the ringleaders occupied; identity them and give them more work. It’s possible to keep the whole class occupied so they simply won?t have the time to be disruptive.
‘Help! I need somebody!’
I try to never fall into the trap of really confronting a students in class. It’s not really very professional but there’s no need for you to suffer. Try asking colleagues or the DOS for advice. Even invite them to watch your class. That could make disruptive students aware that they are under supervision and no one wants to the focus of negative attention.