I think I've just stumbled across the most difficult obstacle that teachers face… dealing with disinterested students. Okay, I'm not exactly a teacher… I'm more of a teacher's assistant. But I still have to deal with the students!
In our little every-weekday-evening Madrasah, we have a variety of students despite the smallness of class size (around 25-39 kids in the younger level; around 10 in the older level). They range from the young and eager to the older and slightly less excited about spending two hours of every weekday in another school… overall, however, the students are pretty great, al-Hamdulillaah – they are learning more about Islam, and how to apply it to their daily lives, and subsequently strengthening their identities as Muslims.
However, to get back to my problem: Disinterested kids.
If you've ever had to teach a bunch of kids, you'll know who I'm talking about… the guy (or girl!) who leans back in his/her chair, either staring at the teacher insolently or looking at nothing in particular with an expression of pure, unadulterated boredom and scorn. When told to do what the rest of the class is doing – learning a du‘ā’, practicing Qur'an recitation, or even just joining the group discussion – the look on the kid's face is either of total disinterest (of the 'whatever' sort), or of scornful incredulity ('you actually expect me to listen to you?').
At the moment, we really don't know how to deal with these kids… there are a couple of them in the class, just sitting there and making absolutely no effort to learn. My dad's of the opinion to just leave them be, and inshā'Allāh slowly but surely they'll join the rest of the class's progress. As for me… well, it just drives me crazy. We have a no-yelling policy, and while that's fine for me in relation to the rest of the class, when it comes to these kids in particular I've had to bite my tongue more times than I can count. My tongue's getting pretty sore now…
So: How does one deal with these children? Leave them be, and hope that they'll become more interested and involved later on? Or is there some other alternative by which we can prod them into more speedy action?
While we're at it, I have another issue as well – class discipline. How do you deal with rowdy kids?
Both during class and recess, there are a couple kids (guys… who else?!) who are really quite loud, and sometimes just downright misbehaved. I've come perilously close to breaking the no-yelling rule with these guys… and it's not just them speaking out loud in the middle of class, or being a little rough with the other guys – it's stuff like, a 9 year old kid being totally disrespectful to his older sister (kicking her, talking back to her, even spitting on her!), another kid being nasty to the younger children (grabbing them in headlocks, teasing them by taking their toys away and making them cry, etc.), and so on…
My father's way of dealing with it is to rebuke them mildly (which I think is pretty ineffective, 'cuz they just ignore him) and let them off with that; I think that we should have a stricter approach… although what that approach should be, I don't know.
Advice would be much appreciated! :)
Your little sister in Islam,