Some of the kids have been a bit troublesome lately. Here is one incident from today.
One of the Year 8 boys, ‘Fred’, was somewhat vexatious today. It was English class, and I saw him writing his Chinese homework on a sheet under his English book, so I took it away and gave him a warning. Five to ten minutes later I saw he had a Chinese book on top of his English book! So I confiscated that too, and told him to see me after class. We have a 10 minute break between each class (so the kids can run around and burn off energy, and teachers can finish all matters with teaching, etc), so I got him to bring his English books and a pen to the English office, and he sat and did some English to make up for the time lost by doing Chinese in English class.
At the end, I spoke to him and he understood the punishment and its reason. I also asked him to apologise (’Sorry Miss Gail for doing Chinese in English class’). He understood what I was asking him to do and why, but stood there, looking at me defiantly. I told him that he could apologise, or I’d speak to his homeroom teacher. He didn’t, so after the next lesson, I did just that. I explained the situation to my Chinese English Teacher who could tell him off properly in Chinese, which he did.
In the course of the next half an hour, Fred refused to apologise point blank. At one stage he offered to write double the lines I’d set him (as part of a separate punishment for earlier in the week - he completely ignored me when I asked him to stay behind after the lesson and finish his classwork) instead of apologising. I explained this was unacceptable, as writing lines is easy compared to telling someone you were in the wrong. He also wanted to learn English his way, by ’sitting in class and not listening to the teacher, but reading books and learning English that way’. ?!?!?! I couldn’t believe anyone would suggest something that. And still he refused to verbally apologise.
About 25 mins into all this I’d had enough, and told him that he had the choice of apologising to me there and then, or he, the Chinese English Teacher and myself would call his parents, and he would have to explain the situation to them. He gave his Dad’s work phone number and we went to the English room to call him, when the lady who teaches the Foreign English Teachers Chinese was in the office. My Chinese English Teacher explained the situation to her and she said she’d handle it (she’s the official behaviour-type person).
Ten minutes later I was given a very nice apology.
When discussing this later with the other FE Teachers, they said that the boys in the Year 8 class had a problem with apologising for some reason, and thought this stemmed from a Chinese teacher in one of their previous years, who never demonstrated this trait. They also told me of another of the Chinese teachers, who had prize-winning Chinese language students he/she was very proud (and boastful) of, instructing their students to do their homework in English class. Strange but true.
It goes to show that actions often speak louder than words.