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How do you deal with lazy, spoilt, unmotivated teenagers?
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thechangling



Joined: 11 Apr 2013
Posts: 275

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

theoriginalprankster wrote:
I'm so happy I'm not with this school anymore. I've had a pleasant month, relaxing and packing and job hunting. I found some good offers in Qingdao and Hangzhou.

I've learnt my lesson - never teach at the so called "international schools". I will divulge the name of this school once I get my final salary. They need to be denounced, publicly.

Looks like I'll be teaching kids again, or perhaps I'll just catch a plane to the Philippines and live the simple life for a while.

I experienced something similar at a Maple Leaf school in Jingzhou back in 2016. It was terribly run by people put into those positions because of their 'relationships'. The principle and deputy (if you can call them that) just walked around the grounds watching the classrooms. They never bothered to introduce themselves. The chinese english teachers were paid an absolute pittance and slaved to the maximum with a workload that stressed them all.
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Guerciotti



Joined: 13 Feb 2009
Posts: 842
Location: In a sleazy bar killing all the bad guys.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OhBudPowellWhereArtThou wrote:
I'm not sure that this is really kosher to say these days, but the truth is that you are not entirely responsible for how much your students learn. Sometimes it's just not going to happen, and the best you can hope for is not making it worse. The old 'lead a horse to water' saying is definitely true.

I am behind this 100%. The students need reminding that they are responsible for their education. I worked for a school that had two campuses. Campus #1 had a history of not getting along with the FTs. Campus #2 was comprised of English majors (as was campus #1) who had English corners. Campus #2 students were wildly enthusiastic. Non-majors and teachers came to my classes. We covered a lot of material, talked a lot, and wrote a lot. These people were keenly aware of the passage of time. They expressed a sense of urgency to learn as much as they could.

Campus #1 students were spoiled, lazy cheaters. After I left, FTs no longer taught them.

The teacher can do just so much. The rest is up to the students.


FWIW, I agree with this and Modernist's 'pass them all' guidance. I teach in an international school and have the same problems with sleeping students in some classes. I ignore them.

The students pay attention and actively participate in my subject courses. I disregard the filler courses, lay low and do my job, which is to teach the subjects I am assigned.

The Chinese teachers make the rules for English teaching and I disagree with most of it, but I know I have no say so I just go with it. If they actually wanted the students to learn English they would let me teach writing, for example, but it's all about power here, and I have none.
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nimadecaomei



Joined: 22 Sep 2016
Posts: 530

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was at a Sino-British place, it was horrible. Students were there cause they failed or did poorly on the gaokao. There were some exceptional students, but the majority just bogged down the teachers.

Now teach elsewhere, and students who get a low mark on something care. Winter time and reading, causes some to sleep (can't blame them too much). I told them I will not wake them, instead I will deduct points every five minutes of their nap time. Their classmates have been good at waking them.
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thechangling



Joined: 11 Apr 2013
Posts: 275

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At my most recent college in Wuhan, cellphone use by students in class was so rampant that virtually nobody bothered to pay attention to my classes (both oral and listening) at all. The entire school was like that because I asked other foreign and Chinese teachers during my 2.5 year stay.
I tried many solutions and the only thing that worked effectively was to ban cellphones from entering the classroom at all. When this happened, an amazing thing happened.....students actually paid attention and participated in class!
However the FAO accused and threatened me over my rigid cellphone policy so I recently departed said institution. The owner of the school wants to keep students 'happy' so the $$$ keeps rolling in is my interpretation. Do any of you guys have/had this problem at schools you teach at and how have you dealt with it?
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nimadecaomei



Joined: 22 Sep 2016
Posts: 530

PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Electronic devices are prohibited in all classrooms where I am, unless specifically needed. One student has been banned from any electronics, due to his addiction to them.

They are generally prohibited, but in the international department can be sometimes used. Sucks for the rest of the student body. Outside of the international department: no phones, computers, tablets, or anything are allowed.
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rocket man



Joined: 19 Dec 2015
Posts: 110
Location: Raleigh NC USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm at an "International High School Program" for Chinese kids that is utter hell and its because of the students that is the main reason why I'm leaving this job in 2 weeks at the end of the semester.

First despite this being a "dual diploma" program with half of the courses being taught in English a vast majority of the students lack the basic English skills to handle the material. Parents are suckered into paying top RMB thinking this program will get their kid into a "top 30" US university, they will be lucky to get into a community college in the US. One teacher told me last winter he was interviewing prospective students on their English skills and told the admin that several didn't have the skill to cut it and was shocked to see them enrolled.

Second is the utter and complete lack of discipline here. Students do pretty much anything they want and get away with it, skipping class (going to the "clinic" is a biggie here) sneaking off campus, talking back to teachers you name it. There is supposed to be a no cell phone policy, I catch them with one and try and take it away (same with them using a laptop when I tell them not to) and they will literally physically fight you to keep it. Try and send a student to the office, they refuse to go saying "I paid for this class" ignoring basic classroom instructions, even had a kid when he decided to walk out of class throw a shoulder into me. NOTHING HAPPENED TO HIM!!!!!

Most of the teachers here are very frustrated, and wont come back for year two an excellent academic director who had worked with the Chinese head before and brought in back in September has pretty much had it surprised he hasn't quit

I don't know what has gotten into these kids, maybe its them being treated like little princes/princesses by their parents and have this sense of entitlement. It may also be the greedy Chinese management that just wants the parents money so basically the kids run these places now.

If I stay in China, I'll take less money and teach university, have friends there who say its far less stressful that a high school. I believe them
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nimadecaomei



Joined: 22 Sep 2016
Posts: 530

PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds bad rocket man. Hopefully, the next position will be better.

Where I am, there is quite a bit of competition to get in. If a student acts up and gets called out there are about 100 others waiting to get in.
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OhBudPowellWhereArtThou



Joined: 02 Jun 2015
Posts: 1168
Location: Since 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"...I don't know what has gotten into these kids, maybe its them being treated like little princes/princesses by their parents and have this sense of entitlement..."

It IS the feeling of entitlement among many students.

It exists not only in China but in the U.S. as well. I landed a job at an exclusive private school in my home town in the U.S.. I lasted three months. I walked out of the school and never looked back. The problems that FTs describe in this forum about Chinese private schools exist everywhere. The FTs in China face greater problems in walking away because of the language barrier, the contract, and the distance from their home towns.

Administrations know what the problems are but they are hog tied. If they tell Johnny's parents that their kid is a miserable little jerk, they'll yank him out of school and put him somewhere else. To keep enrollment high, the administration has to keep the parents and the child happy at the expense of the kids who want to learn and at the expense of the teacher.
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Volver



Joined: 27 Sep 2013
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work at a joke called "Admiral Farragut Academy" in Tianjin and any of the FTs here could have written this entire thread. It, too, is called an "international school" and is populated mostly by kids who are not good enough to cut it in a public school. The point of this place is for the owner to separate rich parents from their money by promising that their low-performing kids will get into a top uni in the States. Most of these kids would be lucky if a community college accepted them into their ESL program. I have solved a lot of classroom problems just by being a hard-nosed SOB. The loser kids hate it, but the ones who have at least something going on in their heads now have a chance to learn.

Here is a good link for understanding the losers:


http://spsp.org/news-center/press-releases/entitled-people-instructions-unfair

I do what I can, demand discipline, and don't give a flying F about what the bosses say. At least some learning will take place and that is about all that can be expected at AFA and others of its ilk. Besides, 115 days and I am out of this school and country for good. THAT is what really keeps me going.

V
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theoriginalprankster



Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 895

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
However the FAO accused and threatened me over my rigid cellphone policy so I recently departed said institution. The owner of the school wants to keep students 'happy' so the $$$ keeps rolling in is my interpretation. Do any of you guys have/had this problem at schools you teach at and how have you dealt with it?


I was told I had broken Chinese law by booting two students from my class, because they didn't have their homework (not the first time for sure).

Rocket man sums it up quite well. The entitled brats deserve a firm kick between the legs and 10 years hard labour.
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Relevant



Joined: 16 Apr 2017
Posts: 39
Location: In the wind....

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spatula City wrote:
You don't have to be an entertainer-- you can be a teacher, just not an authoritarian. If you prioritize the student/teacher relationship over the material, they will end up learning more than they would have, and your job will be easier too.


It seems that I am lucky to be in a school that takes education and discipline a little more seriously than some other places mentioned here, and as a result I really feel for those for whom this is not the case.

I want to wholeheartedly concur with the idea above, as it is something that I have noticed with the classes of Chinese students recently. My style - forged in tough comprehensive schools in London over some years - is to be quite strict over red lines like not handing in homework, not getting on with assigned classwork, and students who are late for class. My teacher stare is well developed.....

I have noticed, however, that there is a significantly diminished return with being a serious faced, hard ass teacher with young Chinese students. The Chinese teachers are not the exacting disciplinarians that I thought I would encounter, but instead they take great pains to have active, even loud and boisterous classes (which seem to be a bit much for my liking), for which they are aided by the fact that students are operating without the constraint of a second language.

I have found recently that by far the most effective method of getting through to even the most disaffected of students is large doses of positivity, making a joke of their mistakes, and trying to draw them into a nice class atmosphere. Unflagging encouragement has worked far better than losing my rag, and I have found myself having more fun in the process.

Deep down in the trenches, it is hard to crack a smile sometimes, but being more positive, less serious and actively encouraging the kids has created a positive feedback loop that is strengthening relationships with the students, and thus encouraging learning while reducing behaviour problems. This may get tiring with some students and classes, but these kids are used to brushing off shouting adults. Kind and caring adults are not so easy to dismiss.

I slip somedays, but I will keep on trying! Smile Good luck all with your own struggles.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 712
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, reading this thread makes me sigh with relief that I teach Primary school and not teenagers!
It seems once many students get to Grade 5 here, they turn into a different beast altogether! It's not their fault, it's their parents and the crazy herd approach to education here in Chinese society.
One poster mentioned their abilty to brush off shouting adults. I see this even at Primary level, the Chinese teachers go beserk at them until they break but some of them don't bend, almost forcing the teacher into a nervous breakdown.
I prefer the softly softly approach, building a bond with my students rather than the hard nosed approach. This is harder work but pays off over time. But with spoilt unmotivated teenagers this approach is not going to work I'd imagine! I don't think that I'd last long in that type of job!!
Then again´╝î I'd never take on that type of position in the first place. Kids (6-12) & Adults only for me Laughing
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 712
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spatula City wrote:
To be honest, trying to be too 'professional' in Asia is probably a mistake. I am convinced that the majority of students simply don't expect it from the FT class-- and they don't arrive at this expectation independently. Trying to be as respected or regarded as the local teachers means you're fighting against a lot of social factors of which the locals aren't typically aware or particularly concerned about.

Instead of forcing the students to adapt to your lessons, try adapting your lessons to the students. Just keep throwing new ideas at them until you find something that works while also not causing you too much undue stress.

You don't have to be an entertainer-- you can be a teacher, just not an authoritarian. If you prioritize the student/teacher relationship over the material, they will end up learning more than they would have, and your job will be easier too. If you can't have a constructive relationship of any kind, then at least you tried, and it's not on you.

Usually my classes will accept studying if they know that there will be a game or something more fun in the near future, so have a long-term schedule. I have organized things as much as I can-- each semester, each month, each week is planned with the sole aim of preventing boredom while maximizing oral English practice as much as possible.

Say what you will about edutainment, it's definitely better than mutual antagonism and pointless assignments into which they won't put any effort whatsoever. Of course, if you go there and they don't respond, it's agony... so it's probably best to get a feel for what works as opposed to starting with that.

It's also important not to focus on the negatives too much. If someone wants to sleep, tell yourself that at least he isn't bothering the others-- that's a win as far as I'm concerned. Disruptive students are much much worse... and if the rest of the students are on your side, then the sleepy ones will come around eventually. Look at the big picture instead of each class (especially the failures).

I'm not sure that this is really kosher to say these days, but the truth is that you are not entirely responsible for how much your students learn. Sometimes it's just not going to happen, and the best you can hope for is not making it worse. The old 'lead a horse to water' saying is definitely true.

I just tell myself that one day they will grow up and realize that I was totally cool with them and they were a lazy jerk. If that doesn't happen, then they're just not a good person and it was never going to happen for them. I know this attitude isn't going to make anyone stand up on their desk and shout 'Oh captain my captain', but it definitely helps me roll with the punches.

You can probably tell I'm not an overachieving superteacher-- but at a certain point, you have to protect your nervous system... and letting go of some of your own expectations is a good way to do that.



Well done and I agree with most of the above. I think that a good teacher should be able to find a nice balance between the two: staying professional but never boring or coming across as a total authoritarian. A toxic learning environment should never be allowed to come to fruitition!
I firmly believe that your character/personality will eventually shine through! Iif you have none, or are not a nice person in general, you most likely will not be an effective teacher.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 4724
Location: China

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you do change format to get something (anything) out of classtime, advise your teaching affairs contact.
Remember your Chinese colleagues don't want you to be too successful as it will mean they have to lift their games.
Karaoke singing is popular, as are cocktail party games. You need an open space for the latter. PM me for more details. Characterise the new approach as 'developing fluency' or somesuch BS.
Best
NS
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rocket man



Joined: 19 Dec 2015
Posts: 110
Location: Raleigh NC USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a follow up, gave a test on Monday caught 4 students cheating and told them as they were turning in their tests they were getting a zero (if I had taken their tests away while they were taking it would have likely caused a huge ruckus) well it did turn into a huge ruckus, the leader of the group attacked me, took my tests away then he and his buddies went through them looking for their tests I tried to get them back by trying to push my way back into the ruckus, they threw elbows and pushed me back, finally got another teacher to come in and help me, one kept cussing at me then kicking over desks

result: I was told not to come in for the rest of the semester "for my safety" kids who attacked me? Still in school...

what a joke
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