I used to dread Mondays and Fridays. Those were the days when I had, what I liked to call them: Killer Babies. This was my group of two 4 year olds. One boy and one girl. Before the boy arrived, there used to be two girls. Sweet, quiet and they got along ok. But, the father of one child decided to take her out of class, and would re-enrol her again when he deemed her more confident.
So after her, came one boy. When I first met him he was shy and quiet, holding onto his Mum for support. However this was an act; I would soon realise his true nature during class.
So this class, every class, was terrible. The girl was shy and quiet, meaning I couldn’t get her to do anything with me and the little boy. One, she was afraid of him. Two, she wanted to play with girly things while he would rather throw a ball about and play with cars. Not a good start.
Then the bullying started. Not bullying as such, more like the boy was becoming more and more disruptive in class and pushing the little girl about. The girl used to be cute and would play along with me, but now she would sit in the corner and cry, not wanting to go near the boy.
When a class isn’t going very well, you think ‘Is it me? Am I just a bad teacher?….maybe I’m not cut out to teach children.’ Things run through your head and they generally do put you down. The majority of my classes go well. Just sometimes the students don’t gel with a teacher.
I used to have one girl, 5 years old, and she just didn’t like me. I don’t know why. I’ve never done anything to upset her. But she just took a disliking to me for some reason. I was pretty happy when she got moved to another teacher. Of course it’s a little disappointing, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do to teach students. If they don’t participate then you can’t completely blame yourself for having a bad class. Now I see her and she is a lot happier with her new teacher. A happy student means a happy parent.
So anyway, something had to change with my Killer Babies. With my PA, (Chinese Personal Assistant for this group) we discussed what we could do to change the tension and atmosphere in the group. I suggested moving the boy to a 1-1 class. This is when it’s just one student and teacher. It was obvious he couldn’t work in a group. Although this means it’s more expensive because its 1-1.
No such luck. The parents said no. They thought the only reason we were trying to get him into 1-1 was to get more money off them. This was the last thing we were thinking. Each group of mine; 1-1, up to 1-4 means I still get paid the same amount. He is better suited 1-1. But anyway, that was that. Fortunately we got the little girl moved into another 1-2 with a little boy she knew, so she was happy.
However I still had the boy, and guess what, he got paired with ANOTHER girl. I done the demo for her and she was the sweetest wee thing, and clever for her age. I thought ‘well she is more active than the previous one, so hopefully they will get on better’. I was wrong. The second class in, the boy had her crying, and was driving me mad. I couldn’t teach them anything because both of them were doing completely different things. The things that set me off again was when the boy stood on the girls leg on purpose. I had to move them. It wasn’t fair on the little girl.
2 different pairings and none of them worked out. It was clear that the problem lay with the boy. I have nothing against him at all, he was very active and he repeated a lot of English, he just wasn’t suited to group classes.
The PA had a discussion with his parents. So I check my new timetable and I see that that group is no longer there! I was ecstatic. I still have the little girl for the moment, and she is so much better now. She hasn’t cried, she plays with me, and its generally a good class.
And the boy has FINALLY been moved 1-1. I think the parents realised that he needs to be 1-1. I asked the new teacher how he was and he said ‘he’s a cool wee fella.’
So everyone was happy. I certainly was! I no longer have to dread my Mondays and Fridays.
And I made it clear to everyone at my campus…. I do NOT want babies.