“All kids in Japan are polite and well-behaved.”
A common trope, but this is absolutely not the case.
Japan isn’t so different from anywhere else. There are good kids who will play along with an almost angelic demeanor and there are difficult kids can who make The Incredible Hulk seem calm and rational.
What is different here, however, is the way that we tackle such behaviors and how we maintain discipline in our classroom.
It’s important to remember that — from an official standpoint — ALTs aren’t supposed to be handling disciplinary issues. It is the responsibility of your Japanese teacher of English (JTE) to handle classroom disruptions. There are, however, a number of situations where we will have to get involved.
Sometimes, your colleague may be young, nervous or feel intimidated by their students. Other times, you may be left to run a class by yourself due to teacher illness, events at the school or other unforeseen circumstances. In short, you need to be prepared to take charge because chances are it will happen to you at some point.
So let’s run down three common scenarios you’ll face in the classroom and the do’s and don’ts for each one.
1. Students talk over you while you teach
Don’t shout at the students to be quiet. Like any troublemakers, showing the students that they can provoke a reaction from you through disruptive behavior is a pretty destructive precedent to set.
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