After the first few days, things in the classroom have calmed down for the most part. The hardest thing to do is definitely controlling the classroom environment. When I was still in elementary school, thirty kids in a classroom doesn’t seem like too much to handle. But now, even with two other volunteers, a classroom of thirty is way too many.
There are three types of kids I’ve noticed: ones that are immune to distractions, ones that can be swayed by distractions, and ones that cause the distraction. It can be hard controlling the last type of person, especially when that kid is yelling, “I don’t understand! Use Chinese! I don’t understand!” in Chinese while I’m trying to lecture and subsequently runs around the classroom away from his seat.
To handle this kid, I tried many things. At first, I used my anger. It was so easy to be angry, but I’ve found that it’s not that effective. Then, I tried to play around with him and be friendly, hoping that I would get on his good side and he would stop. This only encouraged him. My third try finally did the trick. I found out that this boy hated dancing. One day, I went up to him.
“Hey, do you like to dance?” I asked in English.
“What? I don’t understand!” He shouted in Chinese.
I gave an internal sigh. “Do you like to dance?” I repeated in Chinese.
“No! I don’t!” He replied back in Chinese with a panicked look.
“Well, if you don’t behave you’re going to have to perform a dance in front of class, okay?” I stated in Chinese and then quickly walked away.
He became much better after that. In fact, as I passed by him during lunch and brought up the subject again, he shouted, “I don’t like to dance!” He said this in almost perfect English, the first English sentence I’ve ever heard come out of his mouth.