Parenting and Discipline

Strangely enough, Fridays are my longest days. For most people, the beginning of the week is the busiest/most tiring, but for some reason, my schedule makes me most tired on Thursdays and Fridays while Mondays and Tuesdays are considered my “off-days.” On a side note, Tuesdays are my favorite out of the weekdays because I don’t have high school tutoring (through an academy), which means I don’t have to wear a collared shirt or uncomfortable pants all day, and I can just chill in my numerous hoodies hehe.

But back to the original topic… Fridays are always (or at least they feel) really long because I have tutoring until 9PM. And it wouldn’t be so draining if I were teaching high school students like my other job, but from 7-9PM Fridays nights, I do private/individual tutoring with a 1st grade boy. Whenever I tell someone that I tutor a guy who’s in 1st grade, they look at me really funny. I know, what would you possibly tutor a 1st grader in?

Well, it’s hard to call my 2-hour tutor sessions “tutoring.” This boy’s family is here in the States from Korea for just 1 year through an exchange program for physicians; both of his parents are doctors. So they asked me to teach the kid English by reading books with him. And that’s it. So I would say our sessions are halfway between tutoring and babysitting.

I’ve noticed some huge differences between tutoring high school students and elementary students. High school kids come to me for homework help, and they usually have a very good idea of what they want to go over. Elementary school kids have no clue. High school kids can focus really well when I tell them to. Elementary school kids… just want to play with their toys.

So, in order for me to make the kid focus for 2 hours, I made a deal with him: if he reads one book start to finish, he gets 10 minutes of play time. Two books equaled 20 minutes. I mean I can’t even read a book for 2 hours straight without taking breaks, so I thought this deal was pretty decent, and he thought so too.

Now, I should tell you that he is obsessed with Nascar; he would gather all of his cars when I arrive at his house and show me the new cars he got for the week. I think it’s cute that he gets so excited about new toys and that he wants to show them to me, but lately, he’s been breaking the 1 book = 10 minutes rule, and it reached a point where I just couldn’t take it anymore.

During today’s session, he brought his cars and separated them into a pile of old cars and a pile of new cars like normal. So I told him that if he writes an entry in his journal with me there, then we can play first before reading a book. Instantly, he furrowed his brows, pouted, and repeated the phrase “I hate writing” every 5 seconds. I didn’t even let him touch the cars that are lined up on the table in hopes of convincing him to write an entry before playing. At this point, neither one of us wanted to give in. After a few minutes of this standstill, he asked if he can move the cars to the floor so that we can race on the floor as soon as play time was given. Assuming it would be really quick, I allowed it, but he took his 30 or so cars and moved them down one. by. one. in the order that he wanted them to race each other. Ha… this was also fine, but after another few minutes of silence, he wanted to change the order of the cars that are now on the floor. And… I just lost it.

It’s really upsetting when I have to be overly stern and serious in my tone with my students. Because what I aim to be is a calm and collected, yet respectable and wise teacher, not a scary one who has to fight and raise my voice for respect. But it doesn’t always happen. This silent fight between my student and me lasted almost 15 minutes, which was 15 minutes too long. Eventually, he gave in and decided to write his journal entry (which he actually got a bit excited about toward the end), but those 15 minutes were just agonizing. And I think I understand the difficulty of teaching your own children discipline; it’s almost an internal struggle between your love for them/wanting to make them happy and helping them become well-behaved.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to random parenting talk shows on the radio, but lately I’ve wondered what type of parent I’ll be and how my future children will grow up. Maybe it means that I’m slowly maturing and starting to think about what other ladies my age normally think about.

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