Just before class was about to begin, Tae-Young showed up to the office ten minutes early and hovered around for it to begin. I finally convinced him that I was still scrambling to put together the lesson, and that he should wait for me at the classroom.
Y could barely contain herself. “You remember that ONE TIME I was REALLY ANGRY?” (I did indeed. Y is one of these teachers that believes you catch more flies with honey, and she is always patient and compassionate with all the students. But this one particular time, she was dumb-founded and furious, and I’d NEVER seen her angry before) “THAT WAS HIM!!!!! That was the boy that made me so angry!” I asked her what it was about.
Turns out that instead of counselors, kids with different problems get distributed amongst the teachers to help out with different problems. Tae-Young was one of her students she was counseling for that week. They found a grant to get him a cell phone and she sent him some paperwork to fill out. But at the end of the week, he hadn’t filled out the paperwork, even though it would greatly benefit him. He told her that he shouldn’t have to fill out her paperwork, and that should be her job. Please bear in mind that this is Korea, and even if you act up in class, you would NEVER SAY THAT to a teacher, who has one of the highest positions of respect in Confuscian society. Tae-Young had Y muttering out loud to herself, her nostrels flaring, swearing in Korean!
So the last class Tae-Young DID show up, and we had a really nice time. I changed the lesson to follow this great book I had purchased earlier about discussion tactics, instead of just discussion topics. In it were some exercises about learning to value other people’s contributions.
Because the exercise asked everyone to draw some creative ideas independently, initially there was no social component, so Tae Young did outstanding. Then, the exercise has us combine all the students’ ideas onto one sheet and we go over them, and I had the group add more as we went along. So the ideas provided became fuel for more ideas, and I pointed out to Tae Young every time a new idea of his was generated from someone else’s initial idea.
Genius, whoever came up with that exercise!
Then we went through several brainstorming activities with different processes, but that also required recognizing other people’s contributions as valuable to your own creativity. That was followed by an audio problem that everyone had to brainstorm solutions for and choose the best one.
Tae Young followed me to my office and told me the class was funny and he enjoyed it, and took off happy with himself. I also think the other students were surprised he was not irritating.
PHEW! Only 6 more classes to go to fill up with Tae-Young inclusive lessons!
Y later told me that I am the only real teacher here, because all his other teachers have failed him, even her. (though he’s not her student) Nah, it’s just coincidence that I have seen a documentary about this disorder and that I was paying attention. Y, now that she knew who I was talking about and armed with my observations and literature I gave her to read, called the home room teacher again.
The following day, the home room teacher was on the roof and he explained that he called the boy’s parents, trying to convince them to get the boy tested. But the conversation turned ugly, and for two hours the boy’s mom accused him of picking on her boy and not being sympathetic (don’t know how he handled this) to her situation, and how until he gives birth he’ll never know a mother’s pain, etc., etc.
So that’s where it stands: Tae-Young isn’t going to get any professional help, and I’m just a hack.
Open to any further suggestions!