McBouncy is my hero.
Before I left for Korea, I was panicking about whether or not I was capable of keeping a classroom of small children under control. It was McBouncy who taught me the best discipline trick I’ve learned so far.
I used it for the first time yesterday, and it made me so, so happy. Like a miracle of days gone by, the class went from being a shrieking, howling, fighting disaster zone to a completely silent, attentive, focussed group of listening children. I am so impressed.
Quiet! QUIET!! I bawled at voice-cracking volume for the final time. The chaos continued as if I wasn’t there. Children were yelling in rapid bursts of Korean, and I was the only one in the room who didn’t know what was going on. There were screeches and screams. There were even some pretty impressive (although totally unsuitable for the classroom) Taekwondo moves. Teacha was not welcome, or even noticed.
At the end of my tether, I suddenly remembered McBouncy’s advice, and sat down at my desk as if defeated. Clap once if you can hear me, I said quietly, no one except myself hearing me over the din. I clapped once, all alone. Clap twice if you can hear me, I continued in the same quiet voice. I clapped twice. I think I reached about four when the child nearest me suddenly spotted me and became curious. He listened. He clapped. Suddenly he was all smiles at being the only one in on Teacha’s secret. Another child caught on and joined in. I was tempted to get up and start dancing and shrieking with delight, only I felt that that might take away from the desired effect, so I didn’t.
I started to vary the number of claps each time so that my captives would continue to listen, and to my utter delight, one by one, the other children in the class realised that something was going on and fell silent to listen and clap. In a matter of minutes they had gone from being uncontrollable monsters to completely silent and attentive. All eyes on Teacha. No yelling or threats necessary. I stopped the clapping and moved smoothly into my introduction to the lesson, keeping my voice at the same low, calm level.
You learn something new every day, in this job.