Monday, February 05, 2007

Who knew I was so intimidating??

Generally things in my classes are really shiny and happy. In fact, I am a bit of a pushover and a lot of kids (some that aren't even students of mine) even call me "Fun Teacher". This is fine by me. I am not above punishing kids if they misbehave and usually the kid stands in the corner with their hands up and then we talk about what they did wrong and everything is okay. I have had kids cry (but usually the younger, sensitive types) but this is a pretty rare occurence for the most part. Today, however, I was completely shocked when I made a 12 year old boy cry. And I didn't even yell or make a scary face! I was so surprised and I felt a bit guilty. He's a really sweet kid but he was being an idiot and then scribbled on another student's book so I made him stand in the corner. Then he sat down before I told him it was okay so I sent him back to the corner. After a couple minutes I went over to talk to him and make sure he understood what he did and why he was being punished (which should be pretty obvious, but whatever). Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Tin, why are you in the corner?
Tin: (stares at me)
Me: What did you do wrong?
Tin: (continues staring; eyes begin to water)
Me: Tell me why I put you in the corner.
Tin: (tearing up, struggling to speak) Ashely... book... pencil... (starts wiping his eyes)
Me: You wrote on Ashely's book?
Tin: (nods)
Me: Repeat- I wrote on Ashely's book.
Tin: (crying) I wrote on Ashely's book.
Me: Why did you do this?
(at this point it seems that Tin is so upset that English isn't really computing)
Tin: I wrote on Ashely's book.
Me: Okay, but why?
Tin: I wrote on Ashely's book.
Me: (a bit exasperated) Was this a good thing to do?
Tin: No.
Me: So why did you do it?
Tin: I don't know.

We also talked about him leaving the corner. I felt like a big jerk but really it was a pretty mild punishment. I know one thing- it would take a lot more than that to make a 12 year old Canadian boy cry. If only Canadian students feared/respected their teachers this much. And yes, I gave Tin a hug. I am such a pushover.


Kirsty Bryce said...

You'd think it would take more than that to make a 12 year old Canadian boy cry... but it doesn't always.

For example, I sent a kid out in the hall for throwing something (a binder) at a student who had been kicking his chair.

I knew he had been provoked, so I just intended to talk to him about thinking before he reacted.

By the time I got to the hallway, the kid was bawling.

I figured he had already punished himself enough, so we just briefly talked about choosing appropriate behavior.

So, yeah...

ambearo said...

Hmmm... that's interesting. You clearly have the most Korean-esque children in Canada! I'm lucky to be teaching here and not Canada since the kids I knew when I was going to school would have eaten a teacher like me alive.

Kirsty Bryce said...

It's all simple psychology... I create an appropriate atmosphere, and in turn, they all fear me.

The key is to indulge in irrational and inexplicable bahviour every now and then. That way, the students are always expecting you to lose it at any given moment.