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Topic: Has your child ever taken a class and had trouble?

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Subject: Has your child ever taken a class and had trouble?
Date Posted: 7/17/2008 2:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
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My child took a class tonight at the local library with a magician that usually taught public school kids.
Well I don't know what happened but he just seemed to focus on my 12 year old but tall son right from the start.  It was like - my son took a drink into the class.  He'd had classes in that same room before with other teachers and had taken drinks - but this teacher got mad at him for it.  SO my son handed me the drink.  When some late kids came in, he stepped back 4-5 steps and got a drink of his drink - got in trouble again.
Then he got mad because my son has his name tag on in the wrong place.  (he'd stuck it on the lower part of his hirt instead of his chest)

Then the teacher wanted the kids to SWEAR that they would not show the tricks to their friends or discuss the tricks.  My son just refused to do that, and the teacher sent him out of the class.  My son waited 5-10 minutes and came back in, still wouldn't make that pledge and the magician threw us out!   He said "I'm not going to deal with the likes of that all night long."

Now, I don't mean to be like - my child is a saint!  My child is a saint!  He's not.  He told me he just didn't want to lie.  He said the whole thing was stupid because the card trick was already on the internet and who was this guy selling these secrets to kids to tell him that he couldn't show them to his friends.

OH my.  It embarrassed me.  I'm still smarting from it hours later.  I at first yelled at my kid pretty bad - Can't you just cooperate and go along with everything so you can take the class?  

But then I thought about it and thought about it, and it just didn't seem fair.  IN fact, I kept thinking it just didn't seem fair when the teacher got onto him about the drink.

Maybe I'm just a total you know what myself and it is rubbing off on my kid.  Oh geez.  I really felt like the teacher was expecting a public schooled child that knew how to act like a good little dog and not an intelligent human being.

Date Posted: 7/17/2008 8:30 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 422
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I'm not sure I'd *want* my child taking any class from this man.  Does this man know that for some religious groups, it is forbidden to swear or take oaths?

Date Posted: 7/17/2008 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
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I don't know - but I know that it is not a problem for us religiously, it was just a matter of moral principle.

Date Posted: 7/17/2008 12:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2007
Posts: 26
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It sounds like the teacher was out of line.... here is what I am seeing

1.  You signed up to take a class at the library

2.  The teacher/instructor corrected son on the "no drink" policy - OK

3.  The teacher fussed about the placement of the nametag

4.  The whole "swearing" thing was out of line - let's be real (I use to teach in public school) - this is not a test, it is not the SAT, it is a "fun" class being offered through the library - big over-reaction by teacher.


As long as your son was not being disrespectful - the teacher was just way out of line.  I would complain to the library staff that schedules the classes - let them know what happened and how surprising it was because the previous classes have been fine.

Date Posted: 7/18/2008 2:39 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
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I got a letter from the library today that they were upset and very sorry about what happened to.  They wanted to give me a refund and apologize.

My son was polite.  He said "No sir, I am not taking that oath because I know I will want to show my friends."

He was obstinate like a rock, but he was polite about it! 
He really took it better than I did too.  Part of it, I think, is my own conditioning - you know, it must be the kid.

But I got on the net today and looked this guy up, and my impression now is that he is a wanna be full time magician that is having to travel around to try to teach kids to help make ends meet so he can focus on magic.  He is not a teacher and probably saw my son more as a wiseguy heckler that messed his trick up, than the kid that happened to get picked for a particular trick that went wrong.  I did not see my son intentionall sabotage him, and I asked him and he said he didn't.

Date Posted: 7/18/2008 2:45 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
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There were several other kids with their name tags in the 'wrong' place...and a gaggle of them were very late.

I'm not a public school teacher, but I used to teach adults advanced technical classes - MSCE, CISCO, stuff like that.

It is funny how sometimes a smart, observant, interested student can make you nervous, even if they don't say anything.    I learned to pull those folks in and get them on my side to help with the strugglers.  Sometimes if I forgot something, I'd just pose it as a question to them, letting them take the glow and getting me off the hook!

After many classes, I started seeing them as an asset.  I think, perhaps, this guy just really didn't have a lot of teaching experience and was suffering from lack of confidence. 

My son just oozes it.  You know, it is weird, but I was sitting there seeing this strange energy - it wasn't anything verbal or even actions going on - just this strange energy thing going on between them that was so strong it drawfed the rest of the class.  I couldn't help but wonder if it went to some other child when my son left.  There was a poor child that was struggling and not understanding anything and the teacher was losing patience with him and wouln't answer his questions.

I'd have just ignored the oath thing, or used it as a springboard to talk about why magicians keep their secrets and left it at that.


Last Edited on: 7/18/08 2:47 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/18/2008 8:35 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 422
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I think your son handled it very well and I'm glad the library has seen things for the way they are. Obviously, this guy needs to work on his people skills before he teaches any more classes (especially with children).

Date Posted: 7/19/2008 2:57 AM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
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Actually, I think you should be proud of your son.  He had the courage to do what he knew in his conscience was the right thing to do - not take a pledge he does not plan to keep. Good for him that he didn't let a petty man bully him. Your son is on his way to becoming a "real" man.

I think the "teacher" was out of line, and your son knew it too.

The teacher over reacted to some trivial things your son did and took the focus off of the instruction he was doing and unduly put it on your son. Shame on him.

Date Posted: 7/22/2008 11:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
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Thanks everyone.  i've really thought a lot about this.  I think the guy is first and foremost just wanted to be a magician, and teaching kids was just a way to keep doing magic, as he is trying to make it a full time job.  I think that helped me, when I realized that - he probably really could care less about kids and probably doesn't have a lot of experience with them.

Date Posted: 7/23/2008 8:02 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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I have been to lots of classes, such as classes for children at libraries like the one you mention and other group events too. I have seen lots of rude kids doing things far worse than what you say, but never was one thrown out of the class, but believe me I wish sometimes they would. Actually most times the worst behavior is actually ignored when I wish it woudl be addressed! It is worse to me when a child or preteen is personally insulting an instructor, calling names, making fun of their class or swearing at them (but it does happen!).  

I also volunteer at cub scout day camp and have done 3 years so far and seens tons of bad behavior. I know the org's tolerance for the behavior and sometimes it is "pick your battles" and "address the safety concerns primarily". I have also been told I have high expectations of children and that I need to lower them. And I just got home from volunteering for a week at boy scout resident camp (sleep over camp) and witnessed too many kids harrassing the counsellors (college students) and it just is not right. Again the discipline is lax with some instructors. Part of my role there was to step up and deal with it. You would not believe some of the rude and insulting behavior and then when addressed the kid just looks at me like 'who are you to tell me what to do'.  Some refuse to comply and just do not take instruction from authority figures, it is unbelievable.

There are always kids who put their name tags in the wrong places. Or remove them during class. Or move them around and stick them right on their forehead in the middle of class to try to get a laugh out of the other kids and cause a distraction. Some mush them up and fiddle around with them the entire class, tossing them into the air and so on.  I've never seen someone be taken to task about it. Never. Truly as a person who has been in charge of big groups before, you have to pick your battles and is talking about the one who puts the name tag at the bottom of the shirt really important? In all the things I've been to I've never heard that issue be reprimanded by the teacher. Yes it is a pain if you want to call on the child and you can't see their name but what they usually do is just ignore that child and don't call on them. LOL. The purpose of the name tag up high is so the teacher can see it while kids are sitting down and in a crowd. Perhaps that should be explained to your child==because to do otherwise seems rebellious and that he is trying to bother the teacher by intentionally putting it where the teacher cannot see it. It is not a fashion statement type of thing for your son to decide where it goes. LOL. It is a simple thing of following directions and working with the system and just doing what is right, put the darned name tag up on the chest area where it can be seen. Period.

It seems to me that the magician was picking on your son. Why was he the drink police if the library lets drinks in the room? He probably got mad when you took the drink away then let him drink from it, as that was like mom is letting the kid break a rule that the teacher just enforced, a co-conspirator type of thing. I have a feeling that is what he was thinking and it must have really gotten him mad! I know it really bugs teachers when they try to enforce a rule then the parent also breaks the rule and lets the kid do it, right in front of everyone, no less. From that teacher's perspective, no drinks in the room means no drinking in the room not drinking when mom gives permission. I am guessing you were thinking since you held the drink it would not spill and it was safe to be in the room.

It sounds to me like this magician is burned out of dealing with kids where the littlest thing is setting him off. I'm glad my kid was not in that class! It must have taken away some fun for the other kids to hear him harping on your son for minor things.

If you really feel you son was mistreated you should speak to the library staff about him so they don't invite him back. And the talk about just following directions like the name tag thing and going along with the agreement to not share the trick thing. If he uses Internet directions later with friends then that is not releasing the magician's trick, it is sharing Internet directions. Just making that clear as you are not encouraging him to lie. I bet part of the act was to get the kids to feel they were learning something mysterious, secret and special and to keep it secret as so many magicians did for many years (before the Internet).

I am sure it feels bad to have it be YOUR kid who was picked on.

As for me, if my kid were picked on I'd not be happy but believe me after seeing the garbage that other kids do I have a different appreciation for teachers of classes like that PLUS especially for SCHOOL TEACHERS. I don't know how school teachers do it to be honest. Too many personalities, too many different abilitiy levels, too many different beliefs about authority figures, discipline, behavior etc. It is chaos out there!!