beat them senseless
Of course, I don't mean to beat them in the literal sense, but I've found that sometimes pretending to beat them up or pretending to fight them makes them warmer. This never works however with shy kids or over aggressive kids. But surprisingly, idle threats (my favorite is a pink-belly threat) work even on adults. They find it funny and it makes the environment more relaxed.
Children are a whole different game from adults, and most of these apply primarily to children, but some to adults as well and a few maybe to adults exclusively. The list on this board is already pretty complete, but here are a few of my own opinions.
-we are always a teacher and a student. If we can't learn from someone then we aren't paying attention to them. The first law of life is to always either be teaching or learning... otherwise we're just watching tv >.<
-start hard, turn soft. If you start out being easy on kids (and even adults) they develop no respect for the rules that you may want to lay down later... even if they love you. Start out militant and let them know their boundaries and your expectations... then chill out and let them run free, they'll learn to love you with a foundation of respect for your rules.
-the worst kids are the most important. I don't think that any kid is "better" or "more important" than another, but if someone has serious behaviour problems, they need more attention then the others (I realize in some cases, they are beyond our skills... or patience). Jesus said "it's not the healthy that need the healer." I'm not a christian, but he was a smart guy.
-don't let their lack of english fool you. We all know that these kids and adults are as smart or smarter than us. But sometimes instinct gets the best of us and we forget that lack of communication doesn't mean lack of thought. Difficult topics like globalization, consumer culture and economic colonization, literature, psychology, philosophy... these require difficult thoughts, but not difficult words, stretch their brains more than their vocabulary. Make them work around the words they don't know.
-teach yourself, fix yourself, be a warrior-prophet. How can you possibly teach anyone anything if you don't know who you are and where you fit in this crazy world. Our jobs may be to teach a specific subject, but if we are really teachers then we teach about life. You gotta know what you're teaching... life requires experience and a solid soul.
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