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Students really don’t know how much power they have. This is one of the key points of why our education system is like it is (well depending on where you are that is).
So why are students so submissive? It can be due to many reasons:
- They are generally children or your adults, so don’t feel they have the experience or context to evaluate what they are getting
- They can consider not being submissive as being disrespectful
- They are just so bored they don’t want to even speak
- They have had any questioning or creative power squashed out of them
- They have become so focussed on getting a grade they have forgotten to think about what that grade may mean
- They have given up on getting their demands met
In any business the first thing you have to learn is that ‘the customer is always right’, and if you are lucky enough to have demanding customers, it tells you something very important about your business. It tells you that they care enough about your school to push you to the limit to make it as best as it can be.
We deal with a lot of Saudi students. Saudis generally are quite demanding, but saying that, so they should be. I am always willing to listen to a complaint so long as I can sit down with the students and really find out what it is that he or she feels he needs. That is the first point.
Secondly, I need to digest if the complaint is something we can accommodate or something that is out of our realm. Saying that if it is out of our realm, we can still offer guidance and counselling.
Usually students will complain about the teacher. He isn’t making things clear, he doesn’t make it interesting, he isn’t willing to let them speak, etc. If this is the case, we need to talk with the teacher, coach them, perhaps get their side of the story too and find out where we can all win.
Generally I have found that teachers (though very threatening initially), do respond well to feedback so long as it is handled well from the senior management side, and they feel supported by them.
I would have to say, even though it can be a real pain to listen again and again to students complain, in the long run it is the very reason why your school will become the best. You MUST listen to the demands, and in return everyone wins! (including the bank manager).
So demanding students? Bring them on!
.…yes I can hear you teachers screaming already! Sorry….