Advice on awful class

I have a very challenging class of about 18 young students. The average age is about 6 years old, and they are beginners.

Here is the problem. I teach the class three times a week for only about 40 minutes each session, with a Chinese-English teacher with me. She is kind of a scatter brain and really not that much help.

The kids are not very well disciplined. And because I am in there for such a short time, I am not expected to whip them into shape or I would. They all have very bad habits, such as leaving their seats, talking to other students, opening their book and looking at any page except the one we’re reading. It’s a challenge to say the least.

The one good thing is, I get to plan the lesson using the book they supplied. However, I find that they are much better without a book. Every time I don’t use it, I teach the grammar point but I just don’t use the book and it’s way better.

Anyway, I would like some advice here on a couple of issues: the first one is, should I approach the Chinese teacher and tell her my concerns (again). Like I said, she is not the best teacher there and doesn’t seem to have much regard for me or for native speakers. She’s a little distant.

Also, how can I control the class in the short time that I have and still teach the lesson? I mean, there’s almost 20 kids in there and they all need to be stimulated so they will listen to me with little or no talking going on.

I have almost two years experience with kids but this class is vexing to say the least. I think the class size and ability are the real issues here.

Any advice would be very helpful. :notworthy:

Teacher play game.

I wouldn’t allow them to have anything on their tables. Teach them the grammar, write the books examples on the board. Play one game to make sure that they practise the grammar and understand it.

If you don’t have time to play a complicated game, or have a passage to read, just roll the die to see who reads next. That is considered as a game too. Play with them, they get a kick out of trying to get you to read.

Good luck, sounds like hell. Ignore the fact that they aren’t your ‘full-time’ students and teach them some manners!

I do play some games with them, for review and sometimes for the lesson proper. They have no desks, so I don’t have to worry about that. There’s just too many kids in this class for everyone to play, but I try.

And I have taught them some manners and they’re a bit better listening to me than they were at first. The situation is exasperated by the Chinese teacher who has the class most of the time. I know she doesn’t really care about their behavior and lets them get away with almost anything. She gives me a look of shock everytime I even slightly discipline a child.

I know I am doing what is expected of me in this class but it’s way below my standard and I am personally unsatisfied. Every time I walk out of that class I’m shaking my head.

I think it’s time to have a one-on-one with my boss and give him the heads up. Maybe he can bring my concerns to the Chinese teacher and perhaps then she’ll realise how bad it is in that class.

Like I said it’s a big school and I have several different classes like this one. However, this is the only one that is giving me problems.

I’m with battery9 on this one.
18 kids is toooooo much. An unhelpful Chinese teacher is tooooo much. She probably has something up her butt (like you making more money than her).
“Just Play Game” Ha Ha I’ve heard that one enough.
I had a few big classes like that before (I won’t do it again). It’s too difficult to play a game. Too many kids. What worked for me, finally, was putting in extra effort designing group activities that put every team against each other. Racing against the clock, how many sentences can you come up with with what I give you, etc, etc.
But of course If you can’t even get the lesson down so they understand how to do the activity, you’ve got a problem. I find breaking their spirits helps a bit. You need to talk to the boss, get him to kick the CT in the butt, and get permission to do something that they are totally not expecting. Devote one class to having them write lines. Have the parents called immediately (I mean it). Send the worst one out of the room. I find that showing them how tough you CAN be helps. Then you ask them: “You Students want a happy teacher or an angry one?” It worked for me.
I’m sure lots of more experienced people will disagree with me, but its the only way I ever got an unruly class to know who is the boss. I am teaching a class now that I took over after CNY. 9 kids, 7 unruly boys, 2 shy girls. Nobody doing homework, and no effort. After thinking about it for two weeks, I got my boss to cooperate; and let me be a tough-ass teacher for a bit. Detentions, no break-times, no treats or tokens for crap behavior. I have brought the class average up to the ninetys from the sixties. But I have them six hours a week. I have a great relationship with them now, but you are in a tough place with short classes and too many kids. If you can’t get cooperation from the management to make it the way you want it, I hope you can get a better job sooner or later. Also: I don’t work with CT’s in my buxiban classes, I find them irritating.
I have a lot to learn; I hope this helps.

Hey canucktyuktuk,

Yes, yes, yes and…yes. :smiling_imp: Good advice. I think I knew that all along and was just waiting for someone to say it.

I agree with you on all suggestions. I had a class like this before too, and also had them many more hours per week so I could do what I felt was necessary to whip them into shape and it worked.

This one could be handled more or less like that, after I speak to the boss. The trouble with this school is the CTs are the main teachers and we are reinforcement of the lesson…ya know; “let’s hear how the native speaker says the grammar we just learned!”

But that’s still no excuse to let the kids rule the classroom. They do need a good kick in the pants just this once. And I’ll have to let the CT know what I’m doing so she’ll not interfere.

I think the biggest problem with this class is they don’t realise how unruly they are. They figure that’s the way it should be and so they are just doing what comes naturally.

So if it’s not me showing them how to behave in class, it will be their next teacher perhaps much later and then they’ll truly get a shock.

I don’t envy that situation at all. When I first got to Taiwan, I didn’t know any better and I took a job at GRAM, where I was the travelling fool of teachers. 33 different schools in all counties, from Sanxiai to Bade near Keelung. Trains, Buses, MRT, walking, and a broken 50 cc scooter (My lady friend gave it to me )that I put together from spare parts at a Junkyard. Never a class for longer than 45 minutes. Reviewing what the CT had badly taught them. Just Play Games!!
I actually started wearing earplugs sometimes until I wised up and got a better job.
Those were the days
Good luck!

I would encourage you to follow the canuks advice, I agree with what he says too.
The only thing I would like to add is that if you find you get no backup from the administration, then there really is nothing you can do but just survive the term(if you really need to do this class) or tell them you cannot do the class anymore for some personal reason. If you need to survive the term then don’t feel too bad about playing games games games. At that point you are no longer responsible for the outcome of the class, the admin has effectively removed your legs.

Good luck!