Following the recent incident at Hess, which made it into the press, we pasted notes into all the kids’ communication books. The notes politely drew the parents’ attention to the fact that we can’t be responsible for kids outside of class time, and can’t afford to have them here unless they are paying to be here.
As I write there is a 9yr old girl sitting in the waiting area doing her homework. She has no classes with us today, but her parents long ago got into the habit of using this place as a free creche. I don’t want to just kick the poor kid onto the street - and at least she is well-behaved - but I think that something has to be done about this.
Before I give the parent a hard time, does anyone have any better ideas?
Thanks in advance.
My first question would be why are you the one to give the parents a hard time?
Don’t say anything. She is a paying customer and as long as she is not disrupting other classes or your duties, let her stay and do her homework. Every student counts.
But if you let one child stay, then what’s to keep other parents from dropping their kids off and doing the same? You might consider charging them a fee for watching their child since they are essentially using your school as an afterschool day care. Even if she is quiet, she’s the school’s responsibility while she’s there and I’m sure no one’s getting paid to make sure she’s there and safe. What if she wasn’t a quiet child? Would it still be acceptable for her to be there on a day that her family is not paying for? They are just saving money on anchingban fees by dropping her off at your school.
If they pull up to the school to drop her off, have someone wait there for that moment and tell the parents she does not have classes that day so there is no reason for her to be there. If they are sneaky about it or make her walk to the school, call the parents incessantly to point that they made a mistake because she doesn’t have class that day and remind them to come and get her immediately.
It might sound heartless to turn a child away like that, but as I said, if you make an exception, other parents will think that they can do this too or use it against you if your school reprimands them for anything related to it like late pick-ups, early dropoffs, and so on.
Your school should nip it in the bud before it becomes a real problem.
Just my NT$0.67
DB’s right, but so is Imani.
The girl in question is doing no-one any harm, at least until she opens the lunch box. But if you let her you have to let the next one. 200 unsupervised kids would be a major headache, and supervision costs money.
HGC, it’s the sales manager that gets to deal with the parents. But it’s an issue that affects everyone, hence the post.
She’s eating her lunch there? Just how long is she at your school on her days off?
Yeah, it is a tough call. I have kids stay after An Ching is over (usually 5 to 6pm) to 9pm.
Most parents are not as irresponsible as the one in SB’s case so I can’t see hoards of kids/parents taking advantage of you.
Every student counts, every student counts, every student counts…
Why not express to the parents that you are only too happy for them to drop their child off at the school anytime that they feel necessary. You can accept her for enrolment in your Anchingban class, and that way you can have someone ensure that she is doing her homework well, and is nice and safe inside a classroom.
Assuming that the parents are just trying to save a few bucks, they will almost certainly decline your offer, and this will give you the perfect opportunity to express your concerns about her being at the school outside of class hours. Of course your concerns are for her safety etc.
If the parents are really in need of some after school care for their daughter, then your offer may be just the encouragement that they need to enrol a new fee paying student.
Imani, we had a brother and sister who arrived recently at 1pm for a 2-4pm class. They went home at 7. I left a computer unattended while I went for a P, and came back to find a bored 8-yr old revising the lesson plans I was working on. Fortunately I’m not the accountant!
This place is open-plan. Kids running around distract people who have work to do. I lost my temper a while back at a kid who was disrupting a new student while she tried to take a level-test. He was eventually taken away by someone who had better things to do with her time. And I’m not the first person to complain about disruption to lessons. Other teachers and students have complained.
We do adult classes here in the evenings. Screaming ankle-biters do not mix with grown-ups who are cramming in advance of study overseas and spending a lot of money. Especially if the ankle-biters are not paying to be there. A few quiet kids are no problem, but if you leave enough kids alone for long enough at least one of them is going to start playing up.
I don’t blame the kids. If I was in their situation I would be running wild and digging in the art supplies with the rest of them. In fact I have a track record of running into tables, usually with a pair of scissors in my hand. I can’t preach, but I can see the dangers.
The sales manager talked with the parent in question last night when she came in to drop the girl’s dinner off! The mother was quite reasonable about it in this case, so it all worked out OK - unless the girl goes to another school!
I suggest that you lay some ground rules for behavior in the office area. Those kids are running around disrupting work because people let them.
Does your school have a play area?
No play area. Just a waiting area, and they know that they’re supposed to behave. But without something to do and someone supervising…
What would James Bond do if it was Blofeld hanging around the corridors after school ?
Have some special “I have nothing to do” worksheets. “Jimmy, all this running around shows me you have nothing to do. Why don’t you park your fat ass behind this desk and complete this ‘do/does’ worksheet.” Gets those kids quiet real quick if they know they are a step away from more work.
It sounds like your school is in need of an after-school program of some kind. Either that or a firm policy on early drop-offs and late pick-ups. Your school could also start penalizing parents for leaving their kids there by charging about what a teacher would make per 15 minutes for every 15 minutes they are at school beyond their class hours. It could start after the first 30 minutes from dismissal time for late pick-up and for early drop-off, start from the time arrive until they are supposed to arrive for class. Make them sit on a bench or in a classroom with lots of language dittos to do if they don’t have their own work.
I had one girl whose family began to take advantage of my school that lets working parents drop their kids off half an hour before school starts. First it was 8:30 promptly. Then it became 8:27. When she began coming in at 8:25, her parents got a call. She almost never came in before 8:30 after that point. it just took some firmness to get them back on track. I think that’s all your school needs. Just say no.
My brother’s school in America let them leave right at the end of school. If they wanted to stay extra, there was a minimal charge. They had to finish their homework, then they sat around a video game or read books or something like that. So I think if you charge something small it could add up. You can offer some kind of similar service. The parents had to pay for that, it wasn’t free.
My opinion is that it’s worthless to have the kid sit around picking lint out from between their toes. I think they need to get into good habits like doing all their homework. There are kids who are forced from an English bushiban because they weren’t doing their Chinese homework. The Chinese public school teachers like that, because then the after-school money is going into the Chinese teachers’ pockets.
Are there any regulations about afterschool programs/Chinese homework in English schools or Chinese schools?
Every student counts, every student counts, every student counts…[/quote]
If you don’t get rid of the weeds, the garden will not grow.
Every student counts, every student counts, every student counts…[/quote]
If you don’t get rid of the weeds, the garden will not grow.[/quote]
Sorry daltongang…too simplified. Check out the “Shortage of students” thread.
My opinion is that it’s worthless to have the kid sit around picking lint out from between their toes. I think they need to get into good habits like doing all their homework. There are kids who are forced from an English buxiban because they weren’t doing their Chinese homework.[/quote]
twocs…you have come real close to striking gold. You are thinking
Are there any regulations about afterschool programs/Chinese homework in English schools or Chinese schools?[/quote]
I agree with DB about the importance of EVERY student. There’s an anecdote in business called variously the 70-30 rule, or the 90-10 rule. I prefer 70-30.
The theory is that 70% of your profit comes from 30% of your customers. The other 70% are so demanding that they only contribute 30% of your profits. There is therefore a strong argument in favour of doing away with the troublesome 70% and accepting a 30% reduction in profits as a fair trade for a much easier life.
The trouble is that the rule applies to your remaining customer base. 70% of your remaining customers are still far less profitable per head than the other 30%, and so on. Eventually you whittle away all the most problematic customers until you are left with just one ‘prize customer’.
70% of the time this one customer will be more trouble than he is worth!
My mantra when I was a salesman was ‘every door, every floor’. You never say to yourself that any business is even potentially not worth pursuing. Every customer has to be the most important and most valuable in your mind whenever you are dealing with them. Otherwise one day you won’t have any customers.
All the same, you’re only a customer if you’re paying to be there. If you’re not paying, and you are being provided with activities, space, and supervision, then you’re a bloody freeloader. Businesses exist to make money, not to sponsor childcare for parents who don’t want to look after their own kids properly.
Where to find the balance?
“How to make a profit from kids who are staying all afternoon?” is the question that you need to answer, SB. Come on SB, if we come right out and give you the answer it won’t be any fun!
Finding the answer is not good enough…you also need to find a way to implement it.