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Teaching the manager's difficult son

 
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tangofingers



Joined: 19 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:51 am    Post subject: Teaching the manager's difficult son Reply with quote

Hi all, I am facing a bit of a dilemma and I hope that someone here could give me some useful advice. I'm not able to find much helpful information on teaching extremely difficult ESL kids, plus I face a unique situation in my relationship with this child.

He is a 10 year old boy who I've known for the last 7 months. I taught him English for about 3 months in a classroom of other kids his level on Saturdays at a private institution and I have to admit that I used to dread teaching his class. Nowadays I teach him about once a month on Wednesdays as the last period of the day works on a rotation basis where we engage in creative activities with the kids. I still don't enjoy teaching him, and I know his regular foreigner teachers feel the same and have gone a step further in making complaints to the Korean teachers about his behaviour. A few weeks ago he began wearing a laminated sign around his neck for the attention of the foreigner teachers, on which his mother had printed her apologies for her 'devil boy', followed by her instructions to send him outside the classroom to her where she will be waiting with a 'stick in hand'. Then I suddenly realised that I felt compassion for him and his family; it is my belief that he has special needs which he needs specialist help for. I doubt his mother gets a moment's peace and quiet; I know he goes to a private school although I am not sure how his needs are being met there.

To give you a brief description of him: he is incapable of sitting still for more than a few moments, he consistently shouts above the other students, demands more 'happy coupons' or plus points above all the others, cannot wait his turn, tugs and yanks at my clothes in frustration, takes objects from others which they are playing happily and peacefully with just for the heck of it, gleefully stamps on the toys he's given, is prone to bursting into tears when he doesn't get his way, cannot give me eye contact, sweats profusely, foams at the mouth, and generally delights in causing class uproar. As soon as his mother is mentioned (and this is before the wearing of the sign) he acts like he's been handed a death sentence and will use physical force to avoid being sent out of the classroom. I have wondered in the past whether he is somewhere on the autism spectrum and have tried to find some tips and tricks online for making everyone's life a bit easier for everyone in the classroom, like praising him more often and trying to ignore his bad behaviour (difficult to do when he is physically pulling the classroom and its equipment to bits). It's a little too early to tell if this has had any effect so far.

We don't get any support from the Koreans in the office- the manager and the admin assistant- as they are not teachers themselves and just squeeze his little cheek or berate him in a 'oh you loveable little rogue' style, then send him straight back to the classroom when he's been sent out. I don't want him to go to his mum with a beating and so we all suffer in the classroom as a result of him not having any kind of reprimanding.

Now it turns out that the man at the top of the tree, the whole company's boss, is his father. It makes sense that his parents aren't confronted with his behaviour like all the other kids; I understand how the Korean hierarchy works and I'm sure as his parents they know only too well their child's problems.

I have his met his father before, a very pleasant man with good English, and he knows that I DJ, and has asked me before to teach his son DJing. At the time I didn't know that this boy was his son, and to be honest I wasn't really interested in teaching a Korean child DJing as I spend enough time with children as it is, I'm very worn out after a full day's teaching, the language barrier can be tiresome, plus I really don't feel like I am skillfull enough a DJ or a music teacher to charge for such services. On top of that I have absolutely no training in teaching such 'problem children'. Tonight I was approached again by another manager to say that the boss really wants me to teach his son DJing, and his son is no other than this infamous little terror.

What I really want to say is, no way, his child is a nightmare, but I have told him that I will think about it (I have until tomorrow when I meet his father). He would pay me 40,000 p/h which I couldn't really care less about when it's his son in question. The DJ classes would be in the school (I would prefer a more controlled environment like his home) and after my longest day teaching, on Wednesdays.

Whilst I am still weighing up the pros and cons in my heads, I would first of all like some advice on how to politely decline the offer. I feel like I'm in a position where I have to say yes just because of whose child he is, when my natural instinct would be to gently explain my (I think) very understandable reasons why I wouldn't be prepared to teach him this activity.

However there are still some doubts in my head- part of me is willing to give this kid a chance- perhaps I really can help him using music- teaching music therapy has been one of my ambitions in the past, not to mention a little extra pocket money.

What, dear forum users and fellow ESL teachers, would you do if you were being poached to give the boss' little 'devil boy' some extra-curricular classes when your instinct told you to run far, far away? Thank you in advance. And sorry for the long post.
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ewlandon



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Location: teacher

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

is this class offered to other students at the school? Sounds illegal, say you dont want to put your visa in jeopardy.
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busanliving



Joined: 29 Apr 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not illegal if taking place at the school.
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kimchi_pizza



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Location: "Get back on the bus! Here it comes!"

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The child sounds 'high-strung' on sugar/caffeine. Ask that NOTHING be given to the child that includes sugar, chocolate, caffeine, etc. If he is still 'wound-up' see if there is some 'exercise' type punishment, i.e. jumping jacks, push-ups, etc. BUT get the family's support and make a 'game' of it. But please ok it with the family/school before undertaking ANYTHING for your own protection.

My guess is the mother supplies a lot of 'treats' to get him quiet or to get him to obey. Biggest mistake ever.
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

The child sounds 'high-strung' on sugar/caffeine. Ask that NOTHING be given to the child that includes sugar, chocolate, caffeine, etc. If he is still 'wound-up' see if there is some 'exercise' type punishment, i.e. jumping jacks, push-ups, etc. BUT get the family's support and make a 'game' of it. But please ok it with the family/school before undertaking ANYTHING for your own protection.

My guess is the mother supplies a lot of 'treats' to get him quiet or to get him to obey. Biggest mistake ever.


There is no real scientific evidence for this common fallacy
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kimchi_pizza



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Location: "Get back on the bus! Here it comes!"

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

edwardcatflap wrote:
Quote:

The child sounds 'high-strung' on sugar/caffeine. Ask that NOTHING be given to the child that includes sugar, chocolate, caffeine, etc. If he is still 'wound-up' see if there is some 'exercise' type punishment, i.e. jumping jacks, push-ups, etc. BUT get the family's support and make a 'game' of it. But please ok it with the family/school before undertaking ANYTHING for your own protection.

My guess is the mother supplies a lot of 'treats' to get him quiet or to get him to obey. Biggest mistake ever.


There is no real scientific evidence for this common fallacy


lol. ok. Have any children yourself? Go to a local Korean mart and pick up a dozen little yogurt bottle drinks and have your child down them all. It's 'healthy', right? What's the harm? You want 'science', specially 'medical science' who thrives on strung out children so that you have to pay for their medication to 'tame' a child that YOU strung out... I do have to laugh, but it's sad actually.
Why stop there? Give them sweettea, even coffee. I do hope you have the patience to deal with such children.

Plus the fact, as spoken by the O.P., of having the parent put placards on their own child speaks volumes of poor parenting...need scientific evidence for that as well?
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
lol. ok. Have any children yourself? Go to a local Korean mart and pick up a dozen little yogurt bottle drinks and have your child down them all. It's 'healthy', right? What's the harm? You want 'science', specially 'medical science' who thrives on strung out children so that you have to pay for their medication to 'tame' a child that YOU strung out... I do have to laugh, but it's sad actually.
Why stop there? Give them sweettea, even coffee. I do hope you have the patience to deal with such children.

Plus the fact, as spoken by the O.P., of having the parent put placards on their own child speaks volumes of poor parenting...need scientific evidence for that as well?


Just google sugar and hyperactivity and see for yourself. If you choose to believe something that's never been proven scientifically (despite numerous
tests) that's up to you. Don't shoot the messenger. I don't have, or teach kids no, so I don't really care either way.
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nero



Joined: 11 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP, don't do it.
It will open a can of worms, believe me.
Just explain that you are tired after work and you want to focus on giving your best to your company. you can't do that if you are too tired.
Don't get sucked in, by god DO NOT get sucked in to teaching this kid privately.
Also, don't be emotionally blackmailed into doing it. You are not this child's saviour. His behaviour is most likely not going to change through music, it is just going to be a nightmare for you.
Although there are possibly underlying factors to this child's behaviour, it sounds like he has been spoiled most of his life and his mum is now reaping what she has sown.
It is actually really sad and is going to happen more and more with these spoiled princes and princesses we see in this country. The other children don't like them, they have a miserable time in life because they never learned boundaries.
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tangofingers



Joined: 19 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Nero; I am definitely taking your comments on board. I think I'm going to give it a go on a provisional basis and if it's causing me too much stress I'm going to make my excuses and bail.

And as for the other responses- I have no idea what his diet is like, as a general rule I don't allow food in the classroom myself, but I'm not in any position to tell his parents what he can't have. But for what it's worth, I do feel that some kids eat far too much crap and it does effect their behaviour, concentration and their mood.
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kimchi_pizza



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Location: "Get back on the bus! Here it comes!"

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

edwardcatflap wrote:
Quote:
lol. ok. Have any children yourself? Go to a local Korean mart and pick up a dozen little yogurt bottle drinks and have your child down them all. It's 'healthy', right? What's the harm? You want 'science', specially 'medical science' who thrives on strung out children so that you have to pay for their medication to 'tame' a child that YOU strung out... I do have to laugh, but it's sad actually.
Why stop there? Give them sweettea, even coffee. I do hope you have the patience to deal with such children.

Plus the fact, as spoken by the O.P., of having the parent put placards on their own child speaks volumes of poor parenting...need scientific evidence for that as well?


Just google sugar and hyperactivity and see for yourself. If you choose to believe something that's never been proven scientifically (despite numerous
tests) that's up to you. Don't shoot the messenger. I don't have, or teach kids no, so I don't really care either way.


I did as you suggested and came up with this:
Quote:
Health effects

Some studies involving the health impact of sugars are effectively inconclusive. The WHO and FAO meta studies have shown directly contrasting impacts of sugar in refined and unrefined forms [56] and since most studies do not use a population who are not consuming any "free sugars" at all, the baseline is effectively flawed. Hence there are articles such as Consumer Reports on Health that said in 2008, "Some of the supposed dietary dangers of sugar have been overblown. Many studies have debunked the idea that it causes hyperactivity, for example."[57] Despite this, the article continues to discuss other health impacts of sugar. Other articles and studies refer to the increasing evidence supporting the links between refined sugar and hyperactivity.[58] The WHO FAO meta-study suggests that such inconclusive results are to be expected when some studies do not effectively segregate or control for free sugars as opposed to sugars still in their natural form (entirely unrefined) while others do.


So, is seems like a 'heads or tails?" scenario. Thank you. May I illustrate a point with cool story?

I was a 6th grade homeroom teacher in Taiwan. I had one particular girl that had a lot of energy, albeit, too much to the point she spoke like a machine gun, "Rattataattattatttaa" and had a habit of laughingly scratching boys with her nails with they teased her in a good way. But the scratching and interrupting in class was too much so I called her to my desk. "How are you "Lily"? I'm good! Good, can I ask what you had for breakfast this morning? Oh, I had toast and chocolate milk! Do you usually drink chocolate milk for breakfast? Every day! My parents are busy! (German father/ Taiwanese mother, both doctors) "Good", I respond.
I sent a letter and spoke with the mother asking that she no longer give her daughter any more chocolate milk or 'sweets' of any kiind specially in the morning and the mother listened.
She was a whole new girl..calm, self-restrained, still enjoyed class, but the boys were no longer scarred by the scratching.
Yet, every once in a while, she would be back to the, 'Rattatat' and scratching and I'd call her over....."Your mother gave you chocolate milk again, didn't she? ...(she'd smile) Yes... Ok, don't worry but how about running a lap or two outside for me and come back in? (It was a private elementary school with it's own track and field). Even the boys would occasionally behave in a similar way, hyped up on something they were given, and I'd ask them to run a lap, or more, if they felt like it. Usually more. ha. Then class was back to 'normal'.

Maybe it was the sugar, maybe it was the chocolate, but as a teacher it's good to recognize the 'trigger' of hyper-activity and make an attempt to expel that energy in a good way and seek ways to prevent it.

You say you don't care, but I don't believe that. A teacher's natural instinct is to 'care' no matter the age, grade or English fluency level. You'd be surprised at how receptive students are when they know you care.
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You say you don't care, but I don't believe that. A teacher's natural instinct is to 'care' no matter the age, grade or English fluency level. You'd be surprised at how receptive students are when they know you care.


I don't care whether sugar causes hyperactivity in kids or not as I don't have them or teach them. That's why I'm not going to argue the toss on this one. I was just informing you of the (judging from the Internet) majority view on this subject.
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kimchi_pizza



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Location: "Get back on the bus! Here it comes!"

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

edwardcatflap wrote:
Quote:
You say you don't care, but I don't believe that. A teacher's natural instinct is to 'care' no matter the age, grade or English fluency level. You'd be surprised at how receptive students are when they know you care.


I don't care whether sugar causes hyperactivity in kids or not as I don't have them or teach them. That's why I'm not going to argue the toss on this one. I was just informing you of the (judging from the Internet) majority view on this subject.


I'm not taking this all that serious and I hope you aren't either, but I was merely offering humble suggestions based on experience, but if you don't care or give a toss, why post in the first place? You began this arguement and left me no recourse but to respond and it rather derails the OPs thread and delimma. Of course we are helping to *bump* the thread and maybe others can provide better suggestions. So, I guess it's all good!

I rather enjoyed this arguement. Have a good one!
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