Musings about Japan and life as a human, a cosplayer, a minority, a music lover, an English teacher.

Students and Discipline (or Lack Thereof)

I could’ve cried today. My first 3rd grade class of the day…they are the reason why I do not want kids. I had to summon all my willpower to keep from exploding. Normally, if I shout once, that’s all I need to keep any class quiet. No, not this time, especially because their teacher wasn’t there…not even a substitute. I would say, “QUIET!” in English or Japanese, whichever came to mind and reached my lips first. I would hit the chalkboard with my pointing stick (which I smacked so hard that it got bent) and less than five minutes later they would start talking again. It did not help that my supervisor came in halfway through the class and criticized the game I was teaching them (which was my fault because I should’ve remembered that the class at my other school are actually very good kids and are capable of playing the game, and that this class doesn’t have the discipline to do the same). But maybe, just maybe, if she had GIVEN me a lesson to teach them like she usually does every week, we wouldn’t have had that problem. And even as I was telling her that it wasn’t just the game, but the fact that these kids don’t behave, she just kept talking about what I was doing wrong. I bit my tongue and bottom lip so hard that it could’ve started bleeding.

Fortunately…class ended 45 minutes after it started. And my other 3rd grade class (and their teacher) came in. And they’re good kids…noisy when they get to play a game, but it’s productive noise.

But I understand why teachers blow up and even throw things when they get frustrated. Because that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to throw a chair at the window. I wanted to take all the noisy kids out of the classroom and send them somewhere else, and just let the quiet kids stay.

I have all of the sympathy in my heart for Natalie Munroe and her frustration with her high school students. In my case, I know we’re only talking about little 3rd graders, but I know how she feels when students don’t want to cooperate, participate, and would rather do anything other than participate in class. I don’t know who’s to blame. Overall class behavior seems to be a reflection of the teacher’s personality and level of strictness among other things. But are they like this all the time? Even at home with their parents?

So many parents spoil their kids too much, and they believe that teachers are supposed to be eternally patient angels, even if students disrespect them and try to treat them like doormats. Which, of course, students never disrespect anyone, because “my baby would neva do that; no, not MY child. MY child knows how to behave.” Reality check: Your child is not perfect, and if you truly believe that it’s always everyone else’s fault and not the fault of your child, then you suck as a parent.


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