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View Full Version : Does Playing the Uke Make You Good with Children?



Joko
02-25-2013, 07:40 PM
I am about to embark on a career change where I will find myself teaching English to kids in Thailand, and honestly I'm not so sure how suited I am to the profession.

I recently posted this video.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSu3-jdQsoI&feature=share&list=UUv3bcDHU6nuwh2HX-f0l7pQhttp://)
In a teachers forum online for expatriates working in Thailand I got this (edited) PM:


"bring the uke to interviews. about 5% won't get it, the rest will give you a job 100% of the time and truly love you for it. what a great way of getting through to the kids. trust me, you'll find the right sort of place, somewhere where they appreciate what you bring, and you'll be like a superstar there."

One thing that foreign teachers lament in Thailand is that they are expected to be entertainers more than teachers. On an academic level, I can understand that, but personally, I AM an entertainer! That's one of the things I like doing and am good at!

So, as I embark on this new career, I have this reservation that I don't like kids. They're annoying. I'm like C.W. Fields; get away from me kid! YOu bother me! Kind of weird because I LOVE the ukulele, and let's face it, the uke is a kid magnet. Kids love the uke.

I dunno. I don't have kids of my own, and maybe, once I'm exposed to them, something human will be turned on inside me that will make me want to teach and entertain these snotty nosed brats.

Ever brought a ukulele with you to a non-music-related interview? That message I received had to be one of the first times this has ever been suggested.

dkpianoman21
02-25-2013, 08:25 PM
I've never brought my ukulele or guitar to a job interview before, because I've never applied for a job where that could be considered an asset. But since you are interviewing to become a teacher, maybe that's exactly what you need to set yourself apart from the other applicants? Worst case scenario, the interviewer(s) is/are a stiff upper lip type who doesn't have fun ever, you could simply say that you brought it with you for fear of the heat affecting the instrument or for safety reasons. I'm sure their curiosity would get the better of them though. Good luck!

Joko
02-25-2013, 08:31 PM
I don't think "The Alphabet Song" (AKA Baa Baa Blacksheep) is well known in Thailand, and you're right, being able to play it on uke would be an engaging way to get kids to learn it...

consitter
02-25-2013, 08:31 PM
Okay...this is not an interview. But it does show how good the ukulele is with my daughter.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?66020-Raeden-dancing-to-twinkle-twinkle-little-star&highlight=raeden

Luke El U
02-25-2013, 08:47 PM
As a uke-loving, certified, professional teacher with nearly 20 years international experience currently teaching grade 5 at an international
school in Bangkok, I must say . . .

Don't teach kids if you don't already love them. That's what they need most, and if you don't have it, you'll be doing them a great disservice.

Thai people do seem to prefer/expect more entertainment than academics. Studies of Thai academic abilities and attitudes rank them
below their East Asian counterparts.

The uke is quite popular here now, but that's just generally speaking. One could have some students who love it or a whole class of students who don't.

mds725
02-25-2013, 10:33 PM
Don't teach kids if you don't already love them. That's what they need most, and if you don't have it, you'll be doing them a great disservice.

Thank you for saying this.

bmacir
02-25-2013, 11:29 PM
As a uke-loving, certified, professional teacher with nearly 20 years international experience currently teaching grade 5 at an international
school in Bangkok, I must say . . .

Don't teach kids if you don't already love them. That's what they need most, and if you don't have it, you'll be doing them a great disservice.

Thai people do seem to prefer/expect more entertainment than academics. Studies of Thai academic abilities and attitudes rank them
below their East Asian counterparts.

The uke is quite popular here now, but that's just generally speaking. One could have some students who love it or a whole class of students who don't.


Thank you for saying this.

+1 but if you think you don't like kids, it doesn't mean you can't learn to love them.

Of course if you hate kids it's not a good idea for both you and them to become a teacher...

FairyGodmartyr
02-26-2013, 02:05 AM
My 9th grade English teacher was a Mandolin player in a famous bluegrass band. The first test of the year, he walked up and down the aisles singing about how life is hard when you're dumb. I'm sure that not everyone appreciated it, but 21 years later, it is still probably my favorite memory from school.

That said, I agree that someone who hates kids would be wise to not enter the teaching profession. I loved the kids, and that still wasn't enough to keep me in teaching.

PhilUSAFRet
02-26-2013, 02:16 AM
Ponder the idea that you have more in common with kids than you may have thought....you love ukes. Talk to a good therapist for a few sessions, may just be some family of origin "crap" getting in your way. Maybe it's "your child" you have a problem with. Use your talents to teach, be inventive, use that uke to teach....if they just happen to be intertained as a by-product...so be it. I was stationed in Thailand......lovely people.....just give them your best. Good luck.

Paul December
02-26-2013, 02:17 AM
Just fake it.

dhoenisch
02-26-2013, 02:40 AM
Let me start by admitting that I originally hated kids. I wanted nothing to do with them and they annoyed me. The weird thing is though, they've always liked me, probably because I'm naturally kind of goofy. However, over the years, I have learned to really love kids. It's just something that grew on me. I would think that you as an entertainer, you probably have kids flocking to you after your shows to see the "little guitar" you are playing.

I think kids will take to you more if you do use the ukulele. I am both a Sunday School teacher and a Kids Club leader at my church. For both, I used to use my guitar to lead singing. Of course, and no offense to guitarists, but guitars are everywhere, and I think kids tend to get bored with it pretty quickly. A few years ago, I broke my left wrist and elbow in a motorcycle accident, and couldn't play the guitar. Well, I had a soprano uke sitting around that I never played, and I learned how to hold it with my beat up arm, and I was able to lead singing again, though slower. Well, the kids LOVED IT. Both Sunday School kinds and Kids Club kids. When they asked what it was, I just told them I left my guitar out in the rain and it shrunk :).

Needless to say, the guitar no longer comes to church with me as the uke is now my main instrument, and not only that, but I am now teaching three of the kids to play.

I'll bet that if you bring your uke to school, the kids will love you for it.

Dan

hoosierhiver
02-26-2013, 03:24 AM
I think there is a huge difference between Thai kids in a public school and rich Thai kids in a private school. The later tend to be spoiled rotten.

Skinny Money McGee
02-26-2013, 03:58 AM
It's the unpretentious thoughts and innocents of children I enjoy. The few people who annoy me, all happen to be adults

DaleR
02-26-2013, 04:11 AM
It's the unpretentious thoughts and innocents of children I enjoy. The few people who annoy me, all happen to be adults

Wow, you got that right!!!:agree:

OldePhart
02-26-2013, 07:21 AM
Playing ukulele is not going to make you better with kids any more than a cat having a litter of kittens in the oven makes them biscuits...

I love playing uke but you couldn't pay me enough to work with kids. I can tolerate well-behaved kids in small groups (two or three at a time). That's about my limit.

John

Mandalyn
02-26-2013, 08:23 AM
I am a Pre-k teacher. I was good with children before I played ukulele. Being a musician DOES NOT make me better with children. What are you going to do when a kid interrupts you? Or starts puking... Or when they try to touch your ukulele after they were picking their noses? What if a kid has no interest in what you are playing that day?

It is easy to play for the kids and get them excited and have a good time. But can you get them to calm down after playing?

I am all for using the ukulele in the classroom , but if you don't have a passion for teaching children it won't matter how entertaining you are. I love my job and I love that I get to share music with the kids. If you really want a career with children, try to find a way to spend time with some first. To be honest I would never hire someone who told me they did not like children.

pootsie
02-26-2013, 08:34 AM
My toddler took off her diaper and smeared feces all over her room yesterday.

Then she tipped over her training potty after peeing in it.

My ukulele was powerless to stop any of this. Just sayin'

haolejohn
02-26-2013, 08:36 AM
I am about to embark on a career change where I will find myself teaching English to kids in Thailand, and honestly I'm not so sure how suited I am to the profession.

I recently posted this video.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSu3-jdQsoI&feature=share&list=UUv3bcDHU6nuwh2HX-f0l7pQhttp://)
In a teachers forum online for expatriates working in Thailand I got this (edited) PM:


"bring the uke to interviews. about 5% won't get it, the rest will give you a job 100% of the time and truly love you for it. what a great way of getting through to the kids. trust me, you'll find the right sort of place, somewhere where they appreciate what you bring, and you'll be like a superstar there."

One thing that foreign teachers lament in Thailand is that they are expected to be entertainers more than teachers. On an academic level, I can understand that, but personally, I AM an entertainer! That's one of the things I like doing and am good at!

So, as I embark on this new career, I have this reservation that I don't like kids. They're annoying. I'm like C.W. Fields; get away from me kid! YOu bother me! Kind of weird because I LOVE the ukulele, and let's face it, the uke is a kid magnet. Kids love the uke.

I dunno. I don't have kids of my own, and maybe, once I'm exposed to them, something human will be turned on inside me that will make me want to teach and entertain these snotty nosed brats.

Ever brought a ukulele with you to a non-music-related interview? That message I received had to be one of the first times this has ever been suggested.

If you are serious...Don't even waste your time. I could care less how good of an entertainer you are, if you don't like kids they will pick up on it and you will be miserable.

I use the ukulele daily in my classroom. I mentioned it in my interviews. It works, but I care about kids.

I don't find them annoying. I find them to be the future. So my only advice to you before you embark on this career change is that if you don't like kids....don't do it.

Find a local school that you can volunteer your time at. Find out what you can tolerate.

haolejohn
02-26-2013, 08:45 AM
so basically playing the uke won't make you good with children. It can help. But the key to being good with children is caring for them. Someone once said...."they don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."

hoosierhiver
02-26-2013, 08:57 AM
You know, adults in Asia often want to learn English too.

Freeda
02-26-2013, 09:08 AM
The uke is a vector for creating a connection between people. But if you dislike the type of people you are connecting with, what's the point?

Do everyone a favor. Don't teach kids. It's obviously not what you want to do.

hoosierhiver
02-26-2013, 10:42 AM
Thai kids "learn" English in high school (kind of like how we "learn" Spanish in high school), I get the impression it's not so special to them. A lot of Vietnamese on the other hand are fanatically eager to learn English, but don't get it in public school.

OldePhart
02-26-2013, 01:19 PM
Me again. I think I like kids just enough to say this...if you don't love kids now don't even think about spending six or more hours a day with the little buggers. They will be miserable. You will be miserable. I have tons of respect for people who really love kids, can relate to them, and can provide positive roll models for them.

I'm also smart enough to know that I'm not that guy. I finally had to explain to the children's director at our small and understaffed church that I just simply could not assist with things like Vacation Bible School and what have you. I told her, "I'll give you money for the kids and their activities, I'll clean up their messes after they're gone, I'll even scrub toilets if you need me too, but don't ask me to ride herd on a dozen or so of the rascals because I'll either kill them or they will kill me" (literally, I've a heart condition and my blood pressure is about 20 points higher after being around a bunch of kids).

John

electrauke
02-26-2013, 02:48 PM
I am about to say something that may sound arrogant, but I will try my best not to:) I can understand why you do not like kids. The funny thing is, I am 12 years old myself. Lately I look around at the common child of about 10, 11, 12, or 13 and am disgusted. What happened to society I do not know but it seems like lots of kids are disrespectful, rude, and all around stupid. They have no interest in reading or any kind of activity that develops the mind or body. My advice to you is not to block out all children but look for the ones that are not the way I have just described, because there are some out there. While you are in Thailand try to make as much of a positive influence on them as possible, try to change them if they are rude or disrespectful. That is my $0.02 whatever that means.

Luke El U
02-26-2013, 03:44 PM
I think there is a huge difference between Thai kids in a public school and rich Thai kids in a private school. The later tend to be spoiled rotten.

Itís understandable why someone might say this.
But there is a thinly-veiled myth here: the rich are bad, the poor are good.
Kids are kids. Each one grows up with a unique set of circumstances, but they all need
the love and guidance of good adults.

hoosierhiver
02-26-2013, 04:56 PM
It’s understandable why someone might say this.
But there is a thinly-veiled myth here: the rich are bad, the poor are good.
Kids are kids. Each one grows up with a unique set of circumstances, but they all need
the love and guidance of good adults.

Where are you from?, I've actually taught rich Thai kids over there some years back and there is a noticable difference, and of course they are not all rotten.

Luke El U
02-26-2013, 05:40 PM
Where are you from?, I've actually taught rich Thai kids over there some years back and there is a noticable difference, and of course they are not all rotten.

Well, since you asked, I'm from your neck of the woods. Detroit, MI to be precise. That's where I got my B.S. Ed at Wayne State University. I did a year and a half of student teaching in Highland Park (for those who don't know it, see the film "Gran Torino.") I then spent a year in MI public schools, couple years as a Peace Corp volunteer teacher in Ukraine, many years in in Slovakia, China and currently with very wealthy kids in Thailand. We also have close contact with "poor" Thai children here in Bangkok. All the time I was with guitar or uke in hand. I have a beard, wear glasses and sometimes wear the same kind of hat as you do in your picture, comrade. I was fortunate to meet you at last year's Thai Uke Fest. You were very nice to me. Was there something you didn't understand about "It's understandable why someone might say this?"

hoosierhiver
02-27-2013, 01:35 AM
Sorry for any misunderstanding, I didn't mean my comment to come off as confrontational. Just curious about your experience. I should have worded it better.

kirbo
02-27-2013, 04:51 AM
Does playing the uke make you good with children? No. Playing the uke makes you good (maybe) at playing the uke. I think being good with children is something one is born with. You got it or you don't. You can learn to tolerate them, but they'll know. You're boss/interviewer will know right off the bat. I have interviewed quite a few English teachers in Taiwan and have watched them do demos. The most important thing I look for is not experience, but how they interact with the kids. Do they like the kids? Do the kids like them? If the answer is no, then I pass. That being said, don't be afraid to try. If kids don't work out, there are adults or young adults to consider and at the very least, you'll be able to enjoy the incredible beaches, food and lady boys Thailand has to offer.