One of my lower-primary students has a short-temper issue. He gets irritable easily and would vent his anger in class. Typically I do not give him the attention that he wants when he acts up and I would leave him alone to cool down. Today, he started lashing out at another kid and looked like he was almost going to get into a fight.
I was young once, too. I had my days when I was rash, angry and easily upset. But I could not condone this.
I told him calmly it does not matter who was at fault. Perhaps the other student provoked him. BUT if he were to attack him, he would definitely be the one at fault.
The student was defiant and asked me why he could not do as he pleased.
I told him I dote on him and could protect him in class. When he grows older and if he doesn’t rein in his temper, it would only get more serious. I could not be by his side all the time to watch over him. And no one ever thinks with a clear head when he is mad.
I started showing him news articles about people who struck others in moments of folly and ended up in regretting for the rest of their lives.
I wanted to reason with him, rather than just shout at him.
Besides the subjects they learn at our place, I hope we are able to mould them into young gentlemen and ladies. The easiest way to maintain discipline in class would be to scold them and be super stern to them. But the two of us believe that this is so 1980s and wouldn’t work today. Why?
1. In Chinese, there’s a saying 治标不治本. We are not tackling the root of the problem when we are fierce. It’s definitely easy for us because we can get the class to proceed smoothly if we just instill fear into the students.
However, if the child doesn’t understand why he is requested to do the required task, he would not learn.
2. We do not want students to dread coming to our classes.
As it is, our children have tons of enrichment classes in this stressful environment. There is not point in forcing a child to attend our classes- it will backfire and that is just cruel. If they enjoy the lessons and yearn to come for classes, they will learn faster and learn more.
3. Mutual respect
This is one principle that we firmly adhere to. We believe that by talking to them with respect, we can attain long-term cooperation.
Lucky for us, the parents of our students are fabulous and understanding. We are able to work hand in hand with the parents. Values are reinforced at home and we consult them on issues with the child- I believe that’s the best partnership.