TEACHING CHILDREN -- why so difficult?
OK everybody, shaddup and listen. Hands up those of you who are teaching English to kids. OK…. Now hands up who’s enjoying it. Mmm…. Buggar all of you. Why’s that, I wonder?
Lots of reasons. One: Kids don’t want to learn English. They’re there in your classroom because Mom and Dad think it’s a good idea, no other reason. They’d far rather be at home playing video games. Two: Soon after joining an English school, kids make one surprising discovery: unlike their day school, there’s little or no discipline in an EFL classroom. Which, as any normal kid knows, is an open invitation to run riot. Three: Kids, one at a time, are likeable, sometimes lovable, little darlings. But put 15 kids together in one room for two hours, and all vestiges of likeability or lovability are cast to the four winds.
So, how does the EFL teacher saddled with a succession of kids’ classes handle the situation? Work yourself into a seething, two-hour rage, then go home and drink yourself into oblivion each night? Spend hours on the internet searching for tips and hints about how to handle kids’ classes? Say fuck it, and let the kids run riot for the whole session, while you catch up on text messages and work out next week’s budget? Resign?
The answer my friend is… I dunno really. I’ve been teaching children and teenagers for years now, and I still haven’t come up with an answer on how best to endure them. What do minds far wiser than yours or mine have to say on the topic?
Plato said: “Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness.”
OK, thanks Plato, Old Boy. So, in other words, leave the big stick at the front door, right? Gotcha.
But, hang on a minute, what did William Cowper have to say on the subject? “Adopt the graver style. A teacher should be sparing of his smile.” And Leonardo da Vinci? “People react to fear, not love.” So, let me get this straight: you two guys are advocating the big stick approach to discipline, right?Well thanks, you three. I’m still none the wiser. No, I think the most telling, perceptive quotation I’ve heard on the topic is (ahem) mine: “Kids’ classes? Aaargh!”
By the way, does anyone know if infanticide is still illegal?