Today I realised I am good with kids, and even though I need to shout sometimes, they generally listen to me. Also. They like me.
Which is a warm thing to know, really. Unless they can sniff out the chocolates in my bag, in which case it’s probably just the bribery.
Bribery works wonders on kids, folks. More than telling off or strict behaviour does. All week the Year Ones have been irritable and hot and very disobedient. I had one child imitate everything I said, at a raucous of encouraging giggles from bright eyed counterparts. Oh how innocent those chuckles were, and how enraged I felt.
Finally I resorted to telling the class to ignore the little rogue. They did. Surprisingly. That only increased his naughtiness, and he began screaming in their faces as I was teaching. But they kept stoically on, until finally i turned to the piqued little fellow, who was all red faced and exhausted with the effort of creating trouble, and I said,
‘Henry, are you ready to return to your place and behave yourself?’
Meekly, he nodded, and went back to his seat, pleased we were all acknowledging him again. I didn’t hear a peep from him the entire lesson after that, and he raised his hand when he wanted to ask something, too. What a naughty creature.
Today, Year Two were not listening to their class teacher, who is a lovely woman but whose voice is a little low. She looked at me as I was leaving my lesson, and said,
‘You have to call these kids a thousand times, and it makes you not want to do anything nice for them.’
So I turned around, put on my stern face, and said in a loud, controlled voice (it’s my mother’s voice, and she is a bossy lady. I am far from bossy but oh boy, I know that voice inside out),
‘Year Two! Can you not hear your teacher telling you to be quiet?’
Still some chatter.
Sudden stillness in the class. Aha. I yanked their attention by the pigtails it would seem. She looked at me gratefully as I lectured them for thirty seconds about listening to their teacher, and they sat solemn as I left the class.
At this rate, I will probably lose my voice.
Today is Friday and because it was the end of the week I told my Year Ones that the winning ‘team’ (they are arranged into teams) would win some treats. Some naughty boys refused to believe it, and started making airplane noises and pushing each other when I was trying to make them read. Cross, I wrote their names on the board and when their team won, they did not receive anything. It’s always the boys, it would seem. The girls are (mostly) well behaved.
The crestfallen disappointment on their small little faces made me almost cave, but I did not give in.
‘Next time, you will remember to behave when I tell you to, won’t you?’ I reproached them, at eye level (I got on my knees for this).
They nodded seriously and went to sit down, looking like their world had ended.
They gotta learn, you know. And rudeness won’t be rewarded.
I do strongly believe that kids ought to be kids, of course, but kids also ought to learn how to listen. Play when it is playtime, and listen when it is time to listen.
Despite my harshness, however, they did all run up to me as I was walking through the playground at playtime, and hug me in a pile of chubby arms, calling my name.
One whispered, ‘Miss, you’re my fayyyy-vourite teacher.’
Huh, fair praise indeed.