Discipline in Chinese School

Today was my first experience with a “bad student”.  It was in class 1, which has the lowest kids in terms of behavior and test scores.

I was doing my introduction class where I explain class rules and expectations, and I explained to the kids that other homework or reading of books is not permitted.  I said that if I saw the books/homework, I would take them and give it to their head teacher.  Then they student would have to ask their teacher for the books back and explain why it was taken from them in the first place.  I even had a student translate to make sure that everybody understood.

After a few minutes, I saw a boy in the front row, directly in front of my teaching desk, working out of another Chinese book.  I took the book from him and put it on my bag.  I turned around to some other students, and when I turned back around, there was a pool of water on the teacher’s desk.  I asked where it came from, and the kids said that he splashed some of his water from his bottle onto the desk.  Ooohh anger. One of the kids went out of the room to get the head English teacher for help.

All the kids immediately chimed in and said he was “crazy” and “stupid” and  “not right in the head”.  It didn’t help that he doesn’t speak any English.  I asked them if he was like this in all of his classes, or just in mine.  They said all.  Yikes.

Then he went to my bag and took his book back.  Right in front of me.  I was so angry and it didn’t help that he was undermining my authority on the first day of class in front of everyone.  I held out my hand and told him to give me the book.  He yanked the book away and refused.  He held it behind him and so the girl behind him grabbed it from him.  Then he got up and kicked her, sat down, and began working on a worksheet.  By this point, I was in complete shock and I was livid.

I grabbed his arm (probably shouldn’t have done that) and told him NEVER to kick or hit another student.  Then the teacher arrived to the room and we talked outside of the classroom.  She told me that his tests are below average and he is like that in every class.  She told me to just leave him alone and ignore him.  Then she took him up to the teacher’s office.

Is this how educators are supposed to be?  Are we supposed to ignore the “below average” students and not challenge them at all?  I find this to be very different than education in America, where students are challenged, encouraged, and definitely NOT ignored.  I suppose there’s not a lot that I can do in the future, is there?

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