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an 'unteachable' class

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by anon1369, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. I am an NQT and we have recently had a mix up of our bottom set year 10 classes due to behaviour issues. I have had my 'new' class for a couple of weeks however none of them are from my old class so I don't know any of them at all.
    They are all 'known' offenders around the school and behaviour management is a massive issue. I don't teach instead I have to spend the whole lesson just trying to contain them in the room. They won't listen to me at all, instead talk over me or complain that they are never going to learn anything in this class.
    I just don't know what to do with them, they do little/no work (coursework based course). I have tried the shouting method - doesn't work, I have tried the non-shouting method - doesn't work. I am trying to follow the behaviour policy but in our school it involves giving 3 warnings then sending them to another room. The problem is it is pretty much the whole class so I can't get rid of all of them. A lot of them get kicked out of lessons in other subjects and are on all kinds of whole school reports but they don't care about their behaviour.
    Has anyone got any tips for what I can do? There is no point planning really fun/interesting lessons because they just don't listen. I see them everyday of the week and I feel like crying at the thought of having them.
     
  2. I am an NQT and we have recently had a mix up of our bottom set year 10 classes due to behaviour issues. I have had my 'new' class for a couple of weeks however none of them are from my old class so I don't know any of them at all.
    They are all 'known' offenders around the school and behaviour management is a massive issue. I don't teach instead I have to spend the whole lesson just trying to contain them in the room. They won't listen to me at all, instead talk over me or complain that they are never going to learn anything in this class.
    I just don't know what to do with them, they do little/no work (coursework based course). I have tried the shouting method - doesn't work, I have tried the non-shouting method - doesn't work. I am trying to follow the behaviour policy but in our school it involves giving 3 warnings then sending them to another room. The problem is it is pretty much the whole class so I can't get rid of all of them. A lot of them get kicked out of lessons in other subjects and are on all kinds of whole school reports but they don't care about their behaviour.
    Has anyone got any tips for what I can do? There is no point planning really fun/interesting lessons because they just don't listen. I see them everyday of the week and I feel like crying at the thought of having them.
     
  3. Have a pile of ready made work for pupils to complete on their own when you refer them to another classroom. This will stop you from floundering about trying to do too many things when you need to deal with the behaviour.
    Give the class a verbal warning at the beginning of the next lesson that they are falling behind in their learning and that pupils who do not follow your instruction will be referred to the head of department or similar experienced member of staff.

    I would go through the 3 warnings VERY rapidly. Rather than trying to warn and make a long list on the board of the majorit of the class focus on a small handful of pupils. Am sure some bleeding heart on here will say this is unfair but i dont think so as long as they breaking the rules who cares? I would get rid of 3 or 4 pupils within the first 10 minutes. Simply hand them the piece of work as they leave the classroom.

    A referral should result in an after school detention, if it does chase it up and make a phone call to inform the parent/carer of the behaviour of their child. Keep this up for the next half term and you will start to see a change in behaviour. Dont worry about referring pupils on to the head of the department, he or she probably grouped this lovely lot together in the first place. Good luck
     
  4. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    isn't there something about NQTs not being given classes that others would have these problems with? It's very unfair of you to be given a class so bad.
    I have a similar class, I have 17 years of experience and sometimes I feel like a student never mind NQT with them! They are awful. I agree that you should focus on a handful at a time. The way I have dealt with my class is to enlist the support of other members of staff who have a different year group. Given them step by step foolproof worksheets and do not let them even enter the room, giving you the opportunity to teach the others. Contact parents and head of year / department / faculty / house or whatever. Don't bother with active type lessons, they are a waste of your time and energy until you gain some kind of authority of their disgraceful behaviour.
     
  5. I sympathise but much of these problems come from their reputation & your belief that they are all powerful. Actually, they are just kids.Pick them off one by one, starting with the middle ones- Maybe take them out of other lessons where the teacher has them under good control- & have a cghat with them. Another technique is to show that you have a sense of humour & can take a joke. It is completely unfair for the school to put you in a position where they know you will struggle, so get the people who are paid to be in charge to do their jobs!
    Give the rest something they simply can't refuse to do-like a word search-& have pens/pencile to ledn so there is no excuse. make it a competition with a prize to motivate them .Get some of the worst offenders removed from the start so you have fewer to deal with.Watching them in the playground out of lessons may give you a clue as to what their interests are & what you can talk to them about.
    One othet thing, if you are lucky enough to have time, is to see who else teaches them & go to observe them in a well-controlled lesson-This is not to make you feel weak but to show you that they are kids who are able to work well.Your colleagues should rally to help you, not hinder you & in the worst case I'd get my unon involved.
    Good luck!
     
  6. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    Absolutely agree with this!
     
  7. Ok, I'm by no means an expert but I had similar issues with a class last year so here's my two pence worth!!

    1. Definitely have 'safety net' work ready. SO when you send someone out, you pass it to them, instructions already written and tell them to leave. If they argue, ignore it, 'you've been told to leave, so go'. Try REALLY hard not to enter into a conversation with them because that's what they want.

    2. If you have to send 4, 5, 6 or more out in one lesson, DO IT. Beofre now I've halved a class because of behaviour issues. If nothing else, it will certainly make SLT aware that there is an issue!

    3. Start by setting tasks that they can do independently and silently. You speak, you leave. Make it really clear that their behaviour is totally unacceptable and that you are not accepting it anymore.

    4. Phone home ALOT!! Even the elast caring parents will start budging and supporting when you're ringing them after every lesson!

    5. Is there a SLT member linked to yuor department? Or your NQT mentor? Or the SLT link for behaviour? Ask them to come in and see a lesson. Or, when I had issues last year I had the assistant head consistently pop in to the lesson of the class I had issues with. They soon learned that he was there because they were shocking and that they were being watched. I was lucky that I had a good relationship with him anyway and as I had issues outside of school that had led to mild depression, his tact was 'mess with Miss and I'll isolate you until you stop'. It was a GCSE class.

    6. Do everything you can not to appear stressed or thrown by their behaviour. If they see yuo bend, they'll take the opportunity. There were many post lesson moments where I cried and stropped but they never saw.

    I hope that helps. I know it's easy for me to say all this sat behind my desk with a nice class in front of me but you really can beat them!! Make sure you communicate with your mentors and head of department. They are paid to support you and certainly shouldn't be leaving you unsupported with such a class!!

    If I can help any other way, give me a shout!!
     
  8. 1. Keep a log of who/what/when
    2. Keep sending factual emails to SLT/HOD/YL etc.
    3. Voice your concern to pupils/parents/progress managers that they are falling behind and that you are worried that until this poor behaviour stops, learning cannot take place.
    4. Dont be afraid to send a number of pupils out - but be prepared to set detentions etc even if you are certain they won't come - just show you are doing your part.
    5. Email everyone else that teaches the class asking if anyone has any positive strategies to suggest. If everyone else is having the same problems the set needs changing!
    6. Ask to observe/ be observed.

    Unfortunately this happens at times and I have seen experienced/amazing teachers reduced to tears by a nightmare class! Remember that you are great at what you do but sometimes a class social mix can make teaching virtually impossible :s
     
  9. You say it is a coursework based course. I teach two different BTEC courses and I find the naughty's respond positively when I have:
    1. Told them what I expect them to achieve that lesson. Often they can't remember what they were doing or where they got to last lesson.
    2. Mark their work immediately.
    3. Display spreadsheets of who has passed what. You will get two or three fighting to be the first to complete the unit. When most have completed the unit the ones that haven't started will be embarrassed into submission.

    I use www.classdojo.com. If they get -2 points then I phone home and 6 positive points I send a good work postcard home.
     
  10. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Occasional commenter


    Taking the following 2 points together

    and

    makes it obvious (IMO; obviously) that the problem is not the behaviour of this group but the lack of gumption of the SMT in your school.

    Hence 90% of the advice above has no validity whatsoever, as it presupposes a functioning SMT.

    My advice:

    there is no solution where you are so you must try to get out.

    Easier said than done ? I agree.

    No guarantee it will be better in the next place ? I agree.

    My advice is bleak ? I agree.

    My advice is realistic ? I certainly claim it to be so. And it is easy to prove, on the basis of the OP, that it is more realistic than that of several posters who have predicated their advice on a functioning SMT when patently the OP shows that there is none here with whom you can interact.
     
  11. I have had these types of classes. The best advice is to bite the bullet and ask for help. Nobody will think less of you and you will be offered various strategies. I have been in this position and when you start the ball rolling you will find that most teachers are willing to help. They may offer to observe how the class are with you, you may be offered to observe how other teachers work with these pupils. Different teachers will explain what has worked for them and if you are are lucky you may receive some support.

    If you are having any issues with a class or individual pupils talk to someone. All teachers have had these classes, realise you are not alone and remember don't take it personally.
     
  12. One thing that I found helpful when confronted with a class of unruly wilful students is that all behaviour is a matter of choice (Choice Theory) and that it is not your number one role in the classroom to put up with bad behaviour. As classroom teacher your primary role is to teach. Any student who disrupts that attempt should, after the normal behaviour strategies, be removed from the class. With the emphasis now on only appropriate student behaviour being allowed, with absolutely rigid rules governing the class, all of your frustration then is disappated leaving your cool, unruffled and able to teach.
     
  13. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    Well in some cases that would be virtually the whole class - and where would they all go?
     
  14. Hi,

    I'm also an NQT and was in a very similar situation in September. Year 10 class - 18 boys and 2 girls, lots of alpha males trying to prove themselves to one another and mouthy girls with attitude. I'm female, 5ft 3 inches and 25 (but look about 16!) so they just thought they could run the show - what was I going to do to stop them?

    After pulling my hair out for a few weeks I reminded myself that I'm the teacher, they are just kids in MY classroom. So no more Mrs Nice Guy. I read them the riot act outside my classroom, explaining that their behaviour was appalling and explaining exactly what I expected from them now on. I'm lucky in that I always have them last lesson so I can keep them after the bell and every time I was interrupted when explaining tasks etc a 1 minute detention was added to the board in a tally chart. I took no rubbish from them and they clocked up 15 marks/minutes before they started to realise I wasn't joking and started to correct each other - 'Shut up will you, Miss is trying to speak, we're gunna get another mark' etc.

    At the end of the lesson we sat in complete silence for 15 minutes - I put a timer on the board and we all watched it tick down. If they spoke within that time then the timer started again. With 1 minute to go I asked the class to raise their hand if they thought the last 15 minutes had been a waste of time (I raised my hand at this point). They all put their hands up and I explained how I too thought it was a waste of time and that now they all knew how I felt when I was constantly being stopping and interrupted when trying to speak to the class. Some students even apologised!

    We played the '1 minute detention' game every lesson after that, I followed school policy - removed kids from the classroom, gave detentions, put them on subject report and phoned home.

    It took me until Xmas to get a grip on them but wow, have they changed now! I actually look forward to their lessons now as there are some real characters in there and they love a bit of banter with the teacher which has built some really positive relationships.

    Hang in there - it is tough, but explain your expectations and follow them through - as soon as you make a threat and then don't follow it through the kids will never take you seriously. If the class are playing up now, I only have to mention the '1 minute detention' game and they all pipe down straight away! Things will start to turn around, it just takes time, they just need to be re-trained!
     
  15. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    This is great if you can get away with it and I am chuffed that it has worked so well for you, but I thought that in most schools you weren't allowed to keep them after the final bell. Certainly in our school you can't - no more than literally a couple of minutes.

    When staff have tried to do what you did, SLT announced at briefing that we were not allowed to keep children AT ALL without 24 hours written notice, so I would just like to warn everyone to check before doing this and take care that it doesn't backfire.
     
  16. Class Dojo is amazing! Thank you so much - I'd never heard of it, but it will be in use on Monday.
     
  17. I invented this today when I realised some of my (primary) children didn't care for loss of Golden Time (I think they'd already lost most of it anyway). I have them up till break so it worked really well. I only did it for those who'd already lost Golden Time -otherwise I went through that process first- and only for individuals.
    Having made it up on the spot I wondered if I'd be told off for it but DHT thought it was a good idea.
     
  18. Hi, I just checked out www.classdojo.com. It looks really good. Can you let us know how it works for you. What I was wondering is ....when you use the 6 points for a call home do you then re-set the points? Equally, how to you manage the negative points. Thanks.
     
  19. This is so familiar to me. I started off as a sub in the late 80s early 90s and had a lot of these type of experiences. There has been a lot of good advice and strategies in other posts but for me the most important thing was to monitor my own mental health and making sure I wasn't getting too angry or depressed or both about the situations I was being placed in.
    Whatever you do, don't think that being aggressive or attempting to intimidate will help - it is a blind alley and will make things worse. The culture in schools, especially struggling schools can be quite macho and it can be tempting.
    Best of luck and LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
     
  20. We have tried that (keeping them in during their break time or after school when they want to leave) in our school, but often the disruptive ones are the ones who need to release energy on the playground. If they do not get this opportunity, the next class suffers too / even more!
     

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