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A student has an issue with me. Best way to solve this?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by daisy2019, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. daisy2019

    daisy2019 New commenter

    I have recently started working at a new college this term. In one of my year 11 classes, one of my students, who did the first half of the course last year with someone else, has an issue with me. From the first lesson, she has seemed to dislike me quite a lot, and is disrespectful and unpleasant with me in front of the class.

    Because she has done the first half of the course before, she feels she does not have to pay attention when I am teaching at the front and this comes in the form of her talking with whoever is next to her, albeit about the work, which is distracting and everyone can hear it. When I want her to be quiet, I make it a point to not say her name too much and say something like “girls could you be quiet please”.

    Nevertheless she gets angry and she shouts at me in front of the class: “WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE WORK.”. She does not understand that during teaching time she needs to be quiet and it is not the time to do this. So far this term, I have had to ask her to step out of the room on 2 occasions, once for swearing.

    I have been trying different things, like being super nice to her, but it has not worked. Any time that I try talking to her 1:1 about her behaviour, she gets very heated up and it goes nowhere. Once, during our very first 1:1 chat about her behaviour after class, she was getting so heated up that she wanted to close the door so that others would not hear her screaming at me, but luckily another teacher walked by just then and intervened.

    The conception of mine that this student has a problem with me has been validated by speaking with her form tutor. He agrees that this student ‘does have an issue with me and has decided that she wants to disrespect me’.

    He said that she feels that I treat her unfairly, which is not the case at all. She was recently not happy with a grade I had given her, even though this was the grade that was warranted.

    I am wondering, how best to solve this problem. In the 4 years that I have been teaching I have not had a student who has had an issue with me like this.

    Thanks very much for your advice.
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Firstly, don't worry as this type of situation happens a lot. This student is immature and it isn't a problem with you per se, it is with life in general. She might have a very unhappy home life or other issues and is taking it out on you. That may or may not be the case as you don't know. Also, she obviously is doing this for attention she is not receiving elsewhere. She sees you as "new" and she is going to push this as far as she is able, so don't let her. This is what you need to do:

    1. Go back to the form tutor or your line manager and explain what has happened. The behaviour and the strategies you have tried. See if they know any problems at home that they are aware of that might be the trigger for these episodes and whether this student has a "history" of doing this to other teachers.

    2. Think of some possible solutions to the problem. If she is bright and ahead of the class, perhaps give her extra work to do at home and stretch her. Maybe she is bored because she feels that she has already done part of the work you are covering. If she is not that happy in your class, could she move to another class? Don't take it personally although we all want to be liked.

    Try to think of three solutions.

    3. Go with these solutions to your line manager/girl's form tutor/ HOD and ask them what they think might be a solution. Being nice to her or increasing sanctions won't work here.

    Once some solutions are agreed upon, have a meeting with this student, her parents if they are supportive, and one of your line managers or the girl's form tutor. Don't meet with this student alone since you need witnesses on what is agreed/said.

    Explain that you would like to make a way forward but you cannot accept the swearing and disruption to your lessons.

    In order for her to stay in your class, she has to agree and accept your class rules which you need to write down to give to her. Try these:

    1. Follow instructions fast
    2. Stay on task
    3. Work without disturbing others.

    She is well on her way now to the grownup world of work, so she needs to understand that behaving in this manner is not acceptable nor is showing good communication skills. If she wants/needs something all she needs to do is ask you in a polite manner. If she has a real problem with the grade on a piece of work, give it to your HOD to remark and make comments on. You are a reasonable person: you don't mind getting a second opinion.

    Once she is warned and agreed to a way forward then if she breaks those rules again, then the higher ups need to become involved since you have reasonably taken very step you can to resolve the situation.

    She is trying to rattle your cage, so don't let her see you do it.

    DO NOT get entangled in issues of who respects who and how, where, when etc.. Do not even use the word as it is too abstract and you will be all day there arguing with her about it.

    Stick to the facts. Swearing is not allowed, shouting is not allowed, disruption to lessons is not allowed.

    It is not easy but a very, very common problem. You were bound to come across this sooner or later in some form or another so look upon it as a CPD. Write down what has happened and what you have done to solve it. If you can think of a solution and get this sorted then you will know what to do next time or advise your colleagues if anyone should come to you with a similar issue.

    Remember, don't take this personally as this student would have probably done the exact same thing with another new teacher.
    caress, forthejoyofit, saluki and 4 others like this.
  3. daisy2019

    daisy2019 New commenter

    Thank you very much for your post. It is so helpful and thorough, and really useful. I will try that.

    pepper5 likes this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    You are welcome.

    I hope some of it helps.
  5. mrandmrsscience

    mrandmrsscience New commenter

    I am in this situation also and didn’t find the yes she doesn’t like you helpful from my HoD as if it was therefore my fault....!
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    you are mistaken in your perception that she "has a problem with you"

    She is simply enjoying bullying you.

    You are wasting your time trying to negotiate with a "problem" that doesn't exist, rather than dealing with the bullying behaviour.

    she needs certain, impartial, unemotional, consequences - follow your school discipline policy to the letter.

    She is disrupting your lessons and there are no consequences?
    She swore at you, and there were no consequences? ( beyond being asked to step outside)
    She has shouted at you and there are no consequences?

    No wonder she is carrying on, she probably looks forward to her fun at your expense.

    There are thousands of students like that, and you will meet many more.
    @pepper5 makes many useful suggestions.
    forthejoyofit, MrMedia and pepper5 like this.
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Dunnocks is 100% correct...it is bullying behaviour and I have met many over the coming up to nine years as a supply teacher.
  8. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    This is someone who already is repeating a year? And now she's building a portfolio of evidence to mess up the year again only it’s not her fault, it’s yours? Smells like a Year 12 who can’t believe they are repeating Year 11 and wants to get out.

    Brokerage is the answer. Either she’s going to be working hard in your lessons or she's out of the school into college or apprenticeship. There’s no in-between. She needs to hear that message and the people around her (family, form tutor etc) need to hear that message and reinforce it. It will be a series of meetings which feature some blunt talking. Trying to bully you into interrupting her studies is a long winded way of interrupting. If she’s not happy with what she’s doing? There’s plenty of other places for her.
    pepper5 and saluki like this.
  9. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Hee hee. I haven't read the behavior thread for ages because I no longer have behavior problems:).
    I've had this problem loads of times. Never solved it because I rarely had support from above.
    If your subject is English or Maths GCSE and this is a 'repeat student' therein lies your problem. She has failed once and is afraid of failing again - so she is setting it up as your fault. I once had students shouting at me " we did this sh** last year" I relied "Oh Good. Then you can explain it to everyone else" "eerrr. I forgot" You could try asking for her input if she is further advanced than the others - but I bet she isn't. My bet is that she is struggling rather than advanced.
    If you have picked up a class for the second half of their GCSE course there may also be some apprehension there. Follow the advice from Dunnocks and Pepper5.
    I love the suggestion from Mr Media that all of the troublesome disengaged students can go to college:D. They do! used to teach them:D:D. They will just repet the behavior over and over again in college.
    Thus proving that education is wasted on the young
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    You and Mr Media have analysed things perfectly - this student is blaming everyone else apart from herself for her failures. If she just stopped blame throwing and got stuck in and listened to her teacher she would probably pass.

    Some students don't want to listen to their teachers nor put in the hours necessary outside class - the effort needed to do well.

    I go to schools where when I walk through the door and the class see it is a supply teacher rioting erupts. The students say, "We want a "proper" teacher!" LOL. Upon further enquiries the classes usually did have an EXCELLENT teacher just like you saluki, but their vile behaviour drove them away.
    Alice K likes this.
  11. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I would like to add that I said either college or apprenticeship as under the age of 18 they have to be in work, education or training.

    I think FE colleges do a fantastic job with some pupils for whom school was not a good fit and a fantastic job with the rest. In fact I’ll go on record and say they deserve far more cash than they get and that the billions being thrown at academies and free schools would be better off being passed to FE. They’d do a better job with the money.
    saluki and pepper5 like this.
  12. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    The billions wasted on academies and free schools - that is one of the reasons schools are struggling. The cash has been blown and now there isn't enough in the pot to cover for the support staff and extra teachers that are needed. Classes of 30+ with not a TA in sight is what I see in schools. Classes with students on red report cards, autism, EAL students all in the same class with 30 students one teacher and no TA. There are further rumours of more cuts next year which will cause even more pressure on the class teachers. When teachers ask for help the answer is "make it work". Whatever you have to do "make it work".

    When I ask for another £5.00 to cover a twenty mile car journey to a school on supply, the answer is, "Oh. The school won't pay another £5.00.". Please....give me a break. You are telling me they can't give me an extra fiver?

    saluki and forthejoyofit like this.
  13. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Thanks for your comments Pepper5. I was just an ordinary person trying to do the best I could, not an excellent teacher. I kept up to date with my subject knowledge and CPD. I tried to enforce 'rules' only for the college to jump on me for enforcing rules that they had invented! I experienced all of the problems experienced by OP multi-fold. But bums had to be kept on seats for the college's finances.
    Away from the chalk-face I am a strong personality who takes +*+* from no-one. To stand there and be sworn at and verbally abused, even 'accidentally' pushed, was not my style. So I walked away. I'm now working with kids who want to learn which is what I wanted to do all along:).
    I do question whether education up to the age of 18 is relevant to everyone. I have taught many adult learners who disengaged with education as teenagers but were a pleasure to teach when they returned a few years' later as adults. As for apprenticeships, they are the Holy Grail, many, many, teenagers would love one but there are not enough places available. The government has imposed an apprenticeship levy which hasn't helped.
    pepper5 likes this.
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    What make me mad is all the wasted time, money and resources sending students to school for years through primary, secondary then FE only to read things like students swearing and pushing the people paid to help them.

    You are a hero in my eyes saluki for doing it as long as you did.
    saluki and dunnocks like this.

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