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scohen0300
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 209
Location: It varies
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Tang Soo Do

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2022 7:33 pm    Post subject: Help with a troubled student? Reply with quote

Hey everyone! So most of the kids I have in this class (5-7 year olds) are absolutely great. Even the ďtroubledĒ ones just need a little redirection and positive reinforcement. I love teaching this class.

Today, we had another boy join in on class. His first lesson was private where he continuously ignored my coworker who was giving the lesson. Kept saying he wanted to do something else and only wanted to do his own thing. His mom says heís 5, and although I have no right in saying this, we honestly think sheís lying - our whole staff swears heís 6 or 7.

Back to the class today - it was a group class. After he hit his mother before class started, his behavior was exactly the same, if not worse. He wanted me to punish another student for doing an exercise incorrectly. He continuously dropped to the floor to examine his feet. He kept interrupting the entire class to tell me that he wanted to do something else (none of the other children had an issue). He kept running away to do his own thing whenever I refused to let him boss me around. I even made him go sit with his mom for a minute to hope that she would have a talk with him (not sure if she did) and his behavior didnít change. Numerous times, I was borderline begging him to participate in class. He ended up disrupting the entire class and distracting the other students, despite all the mini talks I tried having with him.

After class, I planned on talking to his mom to discuss how I can help him and how I should go about correcting his behavior, but she was very vocal about how proud she was of him and how well he did, as she was gathering his things and walked out the door.

How would you handle something like this? Heís bigger than all the other 5 year and has much better speech, so Iím almost worried about him lashing out on another student. Iím not sure what to do.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1873
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2022 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are a martial arts instructor, not a child therapist. I'm not trying to be disrespectful here, just reminding you that it it is not necessarily your job to correct his behavior, it's your job to teach him karate and foster a safe space for all of your students. In this, I would try to have another conversation with the mother. If it seems that she is not comfortable having it in person, send her an email. Just lay out your concerns, and talk about what you need to see. Whatever you do, and you know this given what you've said, don't mention the age thing.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15712
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2022 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be steady, consistent, and firm. Address this concern immediately. Recognizing that stress and/or frustration are often the reason(s) for disruptive actions. Still, it [disruptive actions] mustn't be allowed.

I'd have a closed-door conversation in my office, with another Instructor present, I'd only address the problem, and neither of the child and the mom, about the disruptive actions displayed on and off the floor. Disruptive actions and the ignoring of said, will not be permitted whatsoever within my dojo, on and off the floor, especially on the floor.

If the disruptive actions happen once again, said student will be suspended for an undetermined amount of time. If at the time, said student is allowed to return for classes, and the disruptive actions still exist, then said student will be expelled for cause.

This way I'm only addressing the problem, and not the mom and/or the child. I'm not attacking them, I'm attacking the problem, therefore, nothing personal has been addressed...just the Dojo Kun. The Kun, of which they both signed and have a copy of.

Disrespect my floor!! That's the fastest way to find you on the outside looking in.



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crash
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 132

Styles: karate,

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if the problem continues after the second or third class try having an assistant instructor, (if possible) take the class and you take the student to the back of the mat and teach him the basics for the next few classes, 1 on 1 may keep his attention and get him into the routine of being in class with others. if this still dousnt calm him down or set the pace you may have to resort to suspension from class for a few days or a week. if he then comes back with the same attitude or problems then expelling him may be the only option. the class integrity and learning environment cant be compromised for an unruly student. a talk with the mom will have to happen as to what you expect from each student.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29283
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a problem, for sure. First off, don't be put off by his mother's "perception" of how good she thinks her baby is. Be up front with her that his behavior is not acceptable, and that you won't tolerate it. And once you lay that down, DON'T TOLERATE IT.

You might suggest to mom that she not stay for class. If he thinks that he is showing off for mom, and she won't reinforce your discipline, then you won't get anywhere.

In this case, it might behoove you to ask mom to not stay and watch class. Maybe she goes for it, maybe she doesn't. But when he acts out, sit him out. Right away. Then when he's ready to participate in the activities the other kids are doing, bring him back in. If he acts out again, he sits out again. I know you want to reach this kid, but remember that you have several other paying customers that you aren't having this issue with, and they don't deserve to lose class time to this kid's antics.

I know you don't want to give up on this kid, and I don't think you should. Just don't lose sight of the other kids in class for this one that is acting out, and is doing so for some attention. This is the tough part, but in the end, nothing is for everybody, and it may be that your class is not for this student. Keep working, but be firm, and consistent, and do not let this kid continue to disrupt your class.
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2292
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly as an Instructor, we shouldn't be afraid to tell a Child 'No' or when something is inappropriate. As we reinforce this in our classes, and that there are consequences to actions.

Like Bushido_man96 suggested maybe have the mum not attend class.

If you start "begging" then that reduces the level of authority you have, and allows him to keep doing his own thing.
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scohen0300
Orange Belt
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Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 209
Location: It varies
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Tang Soo Do

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2022 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for your responses. Fortunately or unfortunately, the student hasnít returned to class yet. Iíve had a few days of great classes to reassure myself when I donít have a distraction such as this particular student, Iím capable of running a great class with lots of smiles and hard work. I still get lots of thank youís from the students and their parents.

Trying to take all of your advice, Iím planning on being more firm with him next time. Iíll ask him once to stop running off and doing other things before making him sit with his mother, and I wonít hesitate to make him sit out more than once.

After that class, if the behavior was like the previous class, Iíll ask his mom to stick around for a talk with another staff member present (heís better at this stuff than I am, but Iíll try to do the talking). Iíll point out the particular behaviors that I canít tolerate, lay out my expectations, and point out to her that I canít just discipline her kid when my job is to be teaching martial arts. THROUGH martial arts, her son can develop discipline, but that will only happen through actually participating in class.

Should the behavior continue, Iíll suggest to his mom that he takes a week off from classes. If, when he returns, the behavior continues, Iíll inform her that heís not ready to be participating in group classes.

I canít thank you all enough!
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29283
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2022 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds like a good approach. Keep us posted if the child does come back to class.

If he doesn't, it may be for the best at this point in time.
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