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Guerilla Discipline

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I had a particularly difficult situation and decided that if I didn't take charge of one of my classes here in China, I wouldn't stay in China. Not only did the students need a severe reprimand, so did their TA. So, I bit the bullet and did it -- regardless of the repercussions.

I wrote the following on the blackboard and had the students copy it:

Dear Mother and Father:
I was very naughty in class today. I was rude and disobediant. I was loud and disrespectful. I wasted Teacher's time and your money. I am very sorry.
PS: Please sign below so I can return this letter to Teacher.
Father:____________________________ Mother:____________________

The TA had to translate it into Chinese and they had to write it in both languages. Everyone in the room was sweating (even the TA). I then told them that if they ever acted like that again, the letters would go directly to their parents. Until then, they remain in my locker. This class has gone from the bottom of my pile to the top. They are excelling. They enjoy having clearcut boundaries and rules. They understand that they are responsible to one another, are expected to be a team and friendly classmates. They know that obediance, politeness and RESPECT are paramount in my class. Hope this helps a hand-wringing teacher out there. Jennifer
PS: I threw away the letters, but only you and I know that. JLH

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