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A call to action against poor behaviour in schools and the prevalence of useless "policies" preventing teachers doing their job

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by angry jedi, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. Thankyou!

    I started my PGCE in September, today I am going in to tell them I am quitting for exactly the reasons you have outlined.

    Behaviour is by and large appalling! As ITT students we have sat in classes at Uni being told that as teachers "we will be in charge of our own classes and their behaviour", what utter nonsense.

    The problem is that teachers are NOT in charge, SMT and the various school, LEA and national government policy makers are. They are the ones that dictate how classes are disciplined. what EXACT procedures teachers HAVE to follow, as if teachers are idiots incapable of deciding what is appropriate at any given time.

    At Uni and from other teachers we have been told amd quite frankly as mother of two teenage children I didn't need to be told this; that children respond best to immediate punishments. Unfortunately because of the nature of most schools sanctions policies this does not happen. There are several issues that need to be considered:

    Giving detentions, well even if they do turn up for the initial 10 minute immediate after school detention, teachers are;
    a)expected to talk to them about their behaviour INDIVIDUALLY, except by the end of the day their are too many pupils to see in 10 minutes ( even if that worked)

    b)Why should some frazzled teacher give up more time to stay after school when they could be marking/planning, to do detentions! Guess what after 7 weeks I have seen teachers just give up and not bother, don't blame them, ergo kids don't get disciplined.

    The ultimate sanction in most schools is "I WILL CONTACT YOUR PARENTS" big friggin deal most of the worse behaved kids have parents that quite frankly don't give a Sh^t! so the kids dont care.

    Have discussed this issue with my own kids, now in their later teens, guess what, they would NEVER have pushed their behaviour that far because they KNEW their parents would have quote " come down on them like a tonne of bricks" .. Do the powers that be realise what a crock "threatening to ring home" is ?

    The use of non-teaching pastoral staff. what the hell ! sorry I have seen some good ones, but quite frankly a lot of them spend most of their time undermining the teacher, in front of the Class. Kids getting sent out by teachers to have non-teaching pastoral staff send them straight back in, thus sending the message to the other 29 pupils that its OK to ignore teachers... great... then the powers that be wonder why kids that start in year 7 as well behaved eager to learn pupils turn into little sh"ts by year 9... why I CAN TELL YOU WHY< BECAUSE THOSE KIDS REALISE THAT LEARNING IN SUCH AN ENVIRONMENT IS POINTLESS!!

    Inclusion: OMG, on paper it is a great idea, but in practise its just a way for governemtn and LEAs to save money and for schools to gain income, which is invariably NOT spent on the children. what inclusion means is this we will include everyone apart from the kids that actually want to learn , because all the 'included' pupils make it impossible for the eager learner to learn.

    the solution is simple.

    1) improve primary schools . period spend the money there. The reseacrh is their that proves EVERY pound spent at 5 years old is worth 15 pounds at 15 years old

    2) SMALLER CLASSES!!! you want inclusion, you want better education for kids, well get the government to reduce class sizes to a MAXIMUM of 20 by 2015 and 15 by 2020, and improve school buildings while you are at it. I have actually seen inclusion work, but only in a lowest set class of 12 pupils... because the teacher has time, for each individual students.

    I have a question for the government;

    A doctor has 30 patients all with various medical conditions, do you think that an hour is an adequate length of time for one doctor to address the needs of all 30 patients?

    yep we all know what the answer to that is !
  2. Excellent post.

    It's depressing, isn't it. When I think about the prospect of having children in the future - something which should be full of joy and exciting - I worry for the world we'll be bringing them up in, and the "education" they'll be receiving, or not as the case may be.
  3. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    My children go to a good school. It is a comprehensive and isn't in a leafy area, it takes all sorts! But the HT is great as are the SLT, the kids play up but discipline is there and the lessons by and large sound interesting to me. Those schools do exist but people who work in schools like those probably don't post on here.
  4. They do exist - I'm sure of that. Unfortunately it appears that they are very much the exception rather than the rule. My second school was supposed to be a nice comp in a leafy green suburb, and it turned out to be a festering pit.
  5. My (soon to be ex) school is supposed to be a good school in an expensive area. In fact their GCSE results are over 80%. All this means is that the kids are arrogant. Even the Year 7s in early Septmeber were swaggereing around. (Implication being "look at me, I got into this school - its your job to give a good education - I can mess about if I like!")
  6. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    My point is that the adults in charge make the difference. If children behave in the way you say it is because they are getting away with it. All children have the potential to behave like all the things that are frequently described on here. I fully admit that I don't think there is much that one teacher can do when the adult hierachy is not setting the standards they should be of children's behaviour.
  7. Very true, Random. Part of the reason for children "getting away with it", of course, are the myriad barriers put in the way of teachers actually disciplining pupils. When teachers have no power to discipline pupils, either through lack of SMT support, lack of parental support, LEA "policies", whole-school policies or any other of the hurdles that are thrown in the way of teachers trying to do their jobs on a daily basis, there is little they can do and the situation continues to worsen.
  8. yes, but what I have seen happening in schools is a case of the old adage 'one bad apple spoils a whole bunch'.

    Disciplining badly behaved pupils appropriately is what is at issue here. What is happening is that because of inclusion policies going to far, the lack of real power a teacher has over classroom behaviour due to sanction policies, the badly behaved kids do not get punished, yeah, lets re-introduce that word, PUNISH , GG haven't heard that word ONCE on my PGCE! As they don't get punsihed the good kids see that as a perfectly acceptable way to behave, they actually UNLEARN, any good beaviour they may have been taught in primary and more IMPORTANTLY from home.

    Inclusion is not something I am totally against, I am fully aware of what issues ADHD kids have and that just because you are labelled with something does not, and should not, mean you are automatically excluded from mainstream education. I went to school at a time when children with dyslexia were taken out of main stream, heaven forbid we should go back to the dark ages.

    The issue with inclusion is where behaviour without a medical/physchological reason is now deemed to be a learning difficulty or special need that should be dealt with in schools. There are two issues:

    A lot of this is based on the work of pyschologists. Pyschology focuses on the individual and what an individuals home/family/immediate environment does TO that individual, Psychology as a discipline and a practice is not interested in the impact an individual has on society, or the impact a pupil has on the classroom or school. This is where the research now needs to be done.

    This next point is important.children who have non-specific behavioural difficulties are often clustered within certain schools. This is because of the environment outside of school; impoverished catchment areas with often high unemployment, badly educated parents, in the broadest sense of the word ( i.e. they have not had the familial education that gives them decent parenting skills), these schools are also situated in areas with relatively high incidents of crime and drug/alcohol use.

    These issues need to be addressed if education in this country is to move forward. research into the impact of behavioural difficulties on those that do not have them, and to go back to the old-fashioned but sound idea that children are only in school for a very short period of their childhood and that what happens to them be it, home life or wider social environment, has a massive impact on those children, far wider than any school or teacher can have.

    Lets start talking about the real issues here.
  9. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Jedi while i agree with you on the behaviour stuff, I have to say that your HOd was right to be cross. How can you possible say its nothing to do with them when you are amking arrangements for a trip - ofcourswe you should ahve got there permission first.

    Also it causes major problems to discuss/sugest things to kids which then dont happen. It should all be set up and agreed before you mention to kids to avoid this
  10. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    their plus other typos sorry
  11. I truly can relate to this thread. I left the school where I was working as an NQT back in September. It was such a vile experience that I never want to see a secondary school again! I am also sick of excuses that don't make sense and of the systems that allow bad behaviours to not only take place but grow and develop. It appears that it is OK for pupils to be rude, insolent, arrogant, ignorant and violent and that as teachers we just have to suffer and take it! I realise now that nothing in life is worth this constant torture and pain and that there is a much better world out there, where people are more civilised and where I belong.
  12. Perhaps I should expand on my story, Mike, since I didn't give all the facts before.

    Earlier in the year, I gave a successful concert to a local infant school with several GCSE students. (This was the "risk assessment" incident I mentioned earlier) As a result of this, several other local infant schools expressed an interest in getting me and some kids down to do a concert for them. I had nothing to do with this contact - it was all done through the Head's secretary.

    I received an email one day saying "you're going to xxxx school on xxx date." This was a date a couple of months down the line. Fine, I thought - all arranged. I heard nothing more from either the Head's secretary or the school in question. When it got to the week I was supposed to be going to this school, I asked several kids if they would be willing to help with the concert IF IT WENT AHEAD. They agreed, being the few pleasant kids that I did teach. I said I would let them know what the infant school said when I had confirmed details with them.

    I then phoned the school in question to confirm what was supposed to be going on, since I had heard nothing. Neither the receptionist, the Head or the Music Co-ordinator at the school knew anything about it.

    The following day, I was off sick and thus unable to tell the kids that the concert was not going ahead. They went and asked my HoD, who obviously knew nothing about it because I had not told her, having no details whatsoever to GIVE her in the first place.

    So, no, she was not right to be angry at me. I had been messed around by SOMEONE along the line, and I still don't know who f*cked up. It certainly wasn't me in this case, since all the organisation of the event was out of my hands from the beginning.

    As it was, her petty stampy-foot reaction drove me over the edge and made me realise that I never wanted to set foot in that place ever again. So I didn't.
  13. Dodat-you have stated the correct adage for all this. 'On bad apple destroys the lot'.The biggest problem for most kids is peer pressure. At the school where I worked most of the trouble came from a section of the older kids, particularly those in year 11 who were waiting to get out and who were often living adult lives, cohabiting, having kids, drinking and taking drugs. These were the most appalling influence and example for the year 7s but they thrived for reasons which have already been mentioned in this thread.
    it is interesting that in Holland primary school goes on for two more years,as does secondary. At least this keeps vulnerable 11 year olds away from invulnerable 15 year olds.
    As a nation we used to be able to understand and use simple homilies such as the one about the bad apple but we are far to clever for that now. Or stupid.
  14. zaco

    zaco New commenter

    I couldn't agree with you more. I have had enough too! There must be more to life than having to suffer this day in day out. I'm planning my exit strategy now!
  15. Maimonides, yes exactly, when we compare our teenagers to those of our EU neighbours one thing that is vary rarely considered is how the school system is broken up by age.

    Our current system stems from an age when children left school at 15, and were not legally considered adults at 18, but had to wait until 21 for that privilege. Now the great myth surrounding that era was that children leaving school at 15 ceased their education, in fact they didn't Apprenticeships were where the vast majority of 15 year old school leavers went and carried on learning until they were 18.

    So what has that got to do with the matter in hand? Well, firstly,some children are badly behaved because their social skills are far in advance of their chronological age/ability, perhaps children should be able to leave school and go to work at 15 if the chose to, on the proviso that they can return to formal institutionalized education if they find it a bit of a shock. I don't have a problem with this, quite frankly I think a lot of disruptive pupils idealize the world of adulthood as one of total freedom and lots of cash, no amount of TELLING them otherwise will persuade them, so why not let them find out for themselves?

    Secondly our school system has not moved with the times. As a nation we really need to think about whether we actually think that teaching children in the 11 to 18 year old age group in the same emvironment is desirable or benficial, I think it is not.

    Thirdly, the British education system is still based on the 1944 Education Act, an act which based its ideas and policy on the traditional fee paying Public Schools and their emphasis on academic acheivment as the ONLY thing worth educating for. Nothing much has changed has it ? see league tables.

    So what we have now is; a British education system that at it's heart lie 19th century academic values coupled with a political correctness that has an undue and unbalanced emphasis on the individual!! hence the insanity that is your 'bog standard comp' (cough).

    This indivuality and child centred learning is ONLY taken on board when it suits the powers that be, let me give the following example:

    A Uni based session with an exclusion unit teacher:

    Teacher: when giving Speacial needs pupils sanctions you have to make allowances for their behaviour/condition. This means you may have to not give sanctions for certain types of behaviour.

    ITT student: What about the rest of the class? pupils have a sense of unfairness, how do I explain why I am NOT giving sanctions for certain misdemeanors and not others ?

    Teacher: err ummm, err tell them everyone is different ( she was thrown by the question DOH!)

    yes folks child centred learning is only for certain children, we are supposed to see things from their point of view, unless of course they are not disruptive, but well-behaved children..... great

  16. Dodat-if you are saying that schools are trying to achieve results within an environment, or maybe I should say culture, which is not actually results orientated, then i think you have a point. That certainly fits with my own observations.
  17. How I agree with this OP and the other similar postings.

    I've spent my teaching career giving my all, and have achieved some fabulous results with music in the past. I've had choirs and orchestras with long waiting lists and hundreds of volunteers to take part in everything. Classes have loved the practical work and they've been a joy to teach.

    Over the past few years I've seen everything vanish. I teach in a middle-class school full of kids who can't be bothered to shut up enough to listen, who treat the lesson like a playtime and who join nothing, take part in nothing, give nothing back. I have had to give up so many of my extra-curricular clubs in order to give regular detentions to kids who either don't turn up or who couldn't care less.

    I've had 4 months off with stress and have been back since September and things have got even worse in those few months. I'm teetering on the edge again, bursting into tears at the drop of a hat and fit for nothing. I dread every day now.

    So, I've decided I'm going to take early retirement and because I missed 15 years, my pension will pay for a postage stamp and little else. But I will be out of this hellish profession which is teaching.

    I have to try to cope until the end of July, and I haven't a clue what I will do to make ends meet, but I don't care. Someone has to do something about the state of our schools. My grandaughter is about to start at her local infant school, and I fear for her future.

    Sorry - this has turned into a real moan, but I'm at breaking point.
  18. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Still not quite clear who the email was from and how you could assume from one email that the trip was all arranged and sorted without even discussing it with yor HOD.

    Still who cares your out in the real world where you no longer have t put up with this C**p and frankly I wish you all the best!
  19. Maths_Mike I mean I suppose that some kids badly behave because we are so academic orientated. Quite frankly non-academic pupils are not stupid they understand even at 13 that if they are not going to get C and above at GCSE it ain't worth bothering with.
    We teach subjects in British schools NOt skills, unless those skills are academic skills. I ask you why do we teach D&T and not plumbing or electrics? I am not suggesting that we teach vocational subjects because we are assuming academic failure in pupils, but because some of these kids, especially some of the badly behaved ones, may actually find something relevant taught in schools. It becomes away of pulling them into education.

    In other words academic success, is also about what we teach in schools, as much as how we teach and what we value. BTW if we live in a culture that does not value qualifications explain the number of students queueing up to get into 15k plus of debt at University?

    As a result of this academic focus, league tables force schools to concentrate on those pupils able to acheive the magic A* to Cs, often at the expense of others in the school. 13 year olds get that, trust me.
  20. I think you are right Dodat,
    All learning is valid. My father left school at 14 and grandfather at 13 to take up apprenticeships. They would have been too tired getting up those early mornings, to be hanging around at night causing trouble.
    Perhaps more practical skills should be taught as equal options alongside academic subjects with a mixture of the two possible.
    Too many youths see schooling as not leading anywhere. Do they still teach woodwork or metalwork in schools?
    Needlework and cookery seem to have disappeared.
    But where are the subjects they have been replaced with? ICT doesn't somehow fit the bill!

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