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



Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 895

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:26 am    Post subject: How do you deal with lazy, spoilt, unmotivated teenagers? Reply with quote

I'm pulling out what hair I have left!

I started a new contract at an "international school", and the students are the dregs who couldn't cut it in public schools, so this is their last stop/an attempt by their parents to save some face.

And they are HOPELESS. Lazy, spoilt, unmotivated, not particularly bright, very low English levels. I have quite a few who walk into class and go straight to sleep - I've never accepted that, but the school won't allow me to punish them.

I'm thinking of terminating the contract based on the fact that I don't have the skill set to deal with these "special needs" students.

It's futile teaching them. Worst students I've had in 15 years of teaching.

Now it's a case of give a month's notice before CNY, and possibly get fined RMB10000, or pack and go over CNY. I need the release letter, so I'm trying to think of the best (and right way) to leave.
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rogerwilco



Joined: 10 Jun 2010
Posts: 1549

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:22 am    Post subject: Re: How do you deal with lazy, spoilt, unmotivated teenagers Reply with quote

theoriginalprankster wrote:
but the school won't allow me to punish them.



What type of punishment would you like to implement ?
What did the school say ?
No punishment is allowed at all ?
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1693
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prankster,

I know a teacher in a similar predicament to yours, and we pm'd you, to no avail.

Please look at your message box. There is a good option for you.

Move fast, and chances are you will be satisfied witb a new job offer for you.

Ghost in China
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theoriginalprankster



Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 895

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What type of punishment would you like to implement ?
What did the school say ?
No punishment is allowed at all ?


Perhaps three strikes and student misses a class. Come back and repeat - parents are called in for a meeting. Repeat and student is removed from school.

But this school is ALL about the money and appeasing the people who put money in their pockets, ie. the parents. The school management prattles on about creating rules (can you believe there are none at present?), but doesn't follow through.

So, to answer your question, no suitable punishment system is in place.

Perhaps it's the age group - 14 to 17 years old. I'd rather teach kids or adults, not teens.
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rioux



Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 871

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just roll with it and don't do much in class if they don't.
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jaybet3



Joined: 15 Dec 2010
Posts: 140
Location: Indonesia

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got to comment on this thread because I've found myself in the same situation. A private school hired me to teach seniors who behave exactly as described above.

I was ready to quit or switch to primary classes, but I asked a more experienced teacher (who happens to be a former police officer) come to my class one day and he went at them like a military drill instructor at boot camp. Basically, he said that they behave for me or he'd come back.

The next class I had apology letters from every student and a much better behaved class. I still have to keep firm with them but there's no more sleeping and a lot less talking now.

Luckily, our school is in favor of discipline and they know this class is a problem for all teachers; Chinese included so these actions were supported.

About 1/3 have a decent level of English so I try to focus on them while keeping the others from making too many distractions. It's definitely not an ideal situation, but they're behaving much better than when I first got them.

Also, if you can do any kind of lessons using videos, PPTs, etc. it really grabs their attention.

Other than that, good luck and if possible, look more closely at the students and school you'll be teaching at your next job.
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theoriginalprankster



Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 895

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Just roll with it and don't do much in class if they don't.


I'd love to adopt that style, but I'm a proactive teacher who can't pull off the 'chabuduo' thing.

Great reply Jaybet, but I feel I'll lose their respect if I let another teacher into to do the commando-style thing (although they don't respect anybody).

I can do it, but I could lose a few classes to their group sullenness.

This week I made it aware that if they sleep, or don't make an effort, they get a 0% grade. Little buggers don't care.

Makes me appreciate the few that do.
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rogerwilco



Joined: 10 Jun 2010
Posts: 1549

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

theoriginalprankster wrote:

This week I made it aware that if they sleep, or don't make an effort, they get a 0% grade. Little buggers don't care.




Schools regard students as paying customers.
Any failing grades you give will be changed to passing grades by the school.
The students know that they cannot fail your class.
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1693
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:55 am    Post subject: jobs galore Reply with quote

Prankster

There are zillions of jobs in China. However those with decent pay in the 12,000 range and above tend to have high stress.

If you prefer less stress, choose a uni gig, with pay in the 7000-8000 range, and supplement the low uni hours, 12-16 hrs, with private gigs, and you will net around 12,000-16,000 per month, or more.

Currently there are 2 vacancies at a decent uni, that I could direct you to.

Follow the pm.

Ghost in China
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jaybet3



Joined: 15 Dec 2010
Posts: 140
Location: Indonesia

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP, you saying you have more than one class that's a problem? Sorry to hear that. I only have one.

In regards to respect, they already don't respect you so what's to lose if you bring in a "bad cop?" Anyway, I don't know your complete situation but can relate to your stress.

Can you PM me the name of the school so I never apply there?

There's a primary 3 gig open at my school if you're interested in teaching the little ones.
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Foo_Fighters_Dave



Joined: 09 Dec 2016
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember you posting in the summer time that you thought you hit the jackpot with this job. Were you able to gather any information about what the students were like before coming?
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OhBudPowellWhereArtThou



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

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prankster,

You don't explicitly state it, but I guess that your administration expects certain outcomes but won't support you when you read the class The Riot Act.

If this is the case, put the weight on the namby pamby administrators and ask them"Just what in the h3ll do you want me to do? They won't pay attention. They talk nonstop, and they are apathetic. You don't support my attempts to bring order to this group. Please advise me."

Inevitably, administration will read you school rules. If there really is no provision for dealing with unruly and unmanageable students, tell them so. If there are provisions for dealing with such students, start handing out the punishment and let the administration handle it from there.

You have probably already been told that you are the professional and must sort it out for yourself. Meet the administration head-on: "Which is more important--- enrollment or quality of education? You decide. I can't teach without your help. If I recommend suspension, I expect you to support me."

I've been down that road in the States. It happens in public schools as well as in private schools. Take it for as long as you can, and have a job lined up and everything cleared when it's time to leave.

FWIW: One strategy that works for me (in good classes that occasionally get out of hand and bad classes that are always bad) is to stand before the class and stare at all of the rambunctious horde until they shut up. You can make marks in your roll book to award demerits. To make it easy on yourself, just look at the talkers and pretend to make dots in your book every time you look at a student. If they believe that you make note of their poor behavior and anticipate some sort of negative response from you, you may be able to keep the class in check.
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Modernist



Joined: 03 Jan 2016
Posts: 72
Location: Routing

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is just part of the scenery at places like this. There's little or nothing OP can really do. The school is all about money, the parents aren't paying for their precious child to either a)fail or b)be disciplined.

Schools like this tell parents that their lazy, entitled brat children can somehow be redeemed through the apparently miraculous efforts of skilled Chinese teachers as well as what in Korea we used to call the 'magic wagookin effect', or the notion that simple proximity to foreigners would change the whole trajectory of a student's performance. The FT is supposed to just inspire them to be better or something. Only positive actions, nothing negative. The parents seem to believe this BS and pay accordingly.

Of course, if/when this doesn't work, it's certainly not the fault of either the student or the school, it's because the foreigner doesn't 'understand' how to make the students learn, because they aren't a good teacher. A good teacher would turn the same class right around, but the current teacher just isn't very good (goes the thinking of the administration/parents) so they need to figure out how to improve their teaching and then the problem will be solved.

Regardless of how stupid this way of thinking may be, I would give good odds that it's what OP will be dealing with or is already dealing with. It's why you won't likely get support from the school in terms of punishment or discipline.
Quote:
This week I made it aware that if they sleep, or don't make an effort, they get a 0% grade. Little buggers don't care.

They don't care because they know full well this won't happen. The school will change any grades seen to be 'too low.' You will never even know it. I teach at a pretty good school but even so, it's actually written in our faculty manual that the mean score for every class must fall between 87 and 91. Really lazy or poorly performing students, a few, can be given Cs, but that's it. Realistically they have to try pretty hard to get anything lower than a B. AFAIK none of them can actually fail classes. Parents are paying too much for that. This is one of the hazards of teaching at rich kid schools here.

My idea for you is this: get out, yes, but until you do, stop the warpath routine. It won't work, it stresses you out, it does nothing or less than nothing as your authority vanishes due to the fact that your threats and such are obviously hollow.

Instead, just ignore the sleepers and the other worst ones. At least a few must be OK, right? In my worst class I have a few good ones, most of the girls are decent and at least try, for example. Do fun activities with them. Like I found a pop song activity where they listen to current American songs and try to understand and explain the metaphorical language in the song. It's not the most serious thing obviously, but they really like it, get very excited and feel somewhat positive about English for a change.

Just play with them until you can leave, basically. Exclude the bad ones at first so they understand consequences, but eventually even let them do it too. Just lay down the weapons and call a truce. Better for you, better for them. If they are happy the school is happy and your leaving is easier to manage. The real brats will get their karma paid back to them one day, it doesn't need to be done by you.
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theoriginalprankster



Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 895

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good advice by all - many thanks!

I've even been offered jobs through this thread - excellent!

Quote:
I remember you posting in the summer time that you thought you hit the jackpot with this job. Were you able to gather any information about what the students were like before coming?


No, and I believe they purposely lied/withheld that information from me, when I asked in the skype interview - the school is desperate for teachers, and told me the students ranged from weak to fairly good, and that they were enthusiastic and well behaved.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 4724
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the lesson is to 1. Either start as a disciplinarian and then ease off as you see students making an effort.
Or
2. Start as wacky entertainer who can't be missed and carry the students with you.
Trying to get order after a few weeks of mayhem is 'toothpaste and tube' stuff.
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