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badly behaved, entitled children- how to deal with

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by tonymars, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    I'm a week into a gig that should last until Xmas. At least I hope so, as I need the money. The majority of the kids are good, respectful learners. There is an on call/removal system, but this is very onerous and time consuming for the teacher, which might at least partly account for the fact the few kids are removed. Parents, I imagine very supportive, but quite possibly quick off the mark to complain if either a teacher does not use the behaviour sanctions enough (poor behaviour is always the fault of teachers, is it not?) or uses the sanctions too much, or at least on their little darlings.

    I teach one class twice a week, which has at least two, maybe three kids who are clearly accustomed to doing what they want in class. It seems to me that a situation has arisen whereby they are treated with kid gloves by pastoral staff, and a "restorative" or no blame culture appears to be evident. They are given, for example, time out cards which they simply need to wave in the air if they need to leave the room before becoming uncontrollably upset. To my eyes, they can control their behaviour; and the fact they have been allowed to shanghai the learning of their peers for so long has led to the class being a bit of a mess, where "normal" teaching, which includes kids listening to the teacher, and each other, is impossible.

    So, the question is what can I, or should I, do.

    By instinct, if given the choice between doing my best to help the whole class learn; and tip toeing - PUSSYFOOTING- around some snotty adolescents, for fear I damage their ******* self-esteem, I would choose the former, even if it means a "struggle" to establish "norms."

    The school has said to use the policy.

    However, I'm not sure. I think what schools mainly want from supply teachers is to keep the kids calm, and NOT to put extra work on someone's plate.

    Plus, it's only two lessons a week, for a finite time.

    On balance, I think at the moment it - the struggle- not worth it, but I may be wrong.
  2. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    If they have Time Out cards you’re off the hook.

    Ignore tone of voice, take comments at face value however sarcastic or snide the tone ...

    In my experience, years ago, if you do this they eventually accept that they are good mannered after all...

    Some exceptions, but so many of these turn out to have such difficulties that you wonder how they manage not to be even more horrible..

    You only have to keep going for a few weeks.
    agathamorse and JohnJCazorla like this.
  3. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Thanks for the reply Deirds.

    Yes, I understand some of these 'difficult' kids may well have difficult home lives.

    Even so, what should I do?

    Tactically ignore the behaviour of the troubled adolescents, even if this means the current situation i.e. the class is learning very little.


    Tackle the problem head on. Enforce the policy to the letter, even if this results in a power struggle, and even if this results in the premature termination of my contract.

    Am I being stupid here?
  4. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Sorry, I thought you were talking about the Time Out kids.

    Others, it’s a balancing act. It’s a lose, lose situation, you’re a pain if you follow policy and call SLT in, appalling behaviour is all your own fault if you don’t follow policy to the letter.

    And to be fair, we’re not in any school with the prospect of years ahead of us.

    Supply doesn’t get supported in my view...one of my agents told me to remember I couldn’t sort out a schools discipline problems all by myself.
  5. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Thanks for the reply Deirds. And understanding the dilemma.

    OK. So my question as to what I should do was stupid because there are no simple, black and white, easy answers.

    I still thought I would put it out there as I am not sure what to do and maybe others have had similar experiences.
  6. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    OK. So told today my services were no longer required.


    Probably, Deputy Head looked in yesterday to a class with aforementioned entitled, badly behaved teenagers. I took this opportunity to give the class a bollocking.

    Apparently this offended said DH, who said she didn't like the way I did things. Presumably she meant it didn't accord with a culture of never, ever using anything less than positive language, to the young people, especially those who are the most disaffected and the worst behaved.

    On reflection, I'm not sure I have done anything wrong, other than not sussing out quick enough the culture of the place.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience? I do sense that this year the supply game has changed. Myself, I write this down to experience and am not taking this personally. I feel certain this is an increasingly common thing to happen.
    pepper5, agathamorse and JohnJCazorla like this.
  7. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    Sorry I wish I would’ve posted last night now, don't know that it would’ve prolonged the gig for you but my advice would’ve been what I’ve quoted above

    I always tried to suss out the culture of a place on long term/potential long term gigs

    I then adapted my expectations accordingly whilst trying to teach as best I could in the schools circumstances
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    No need to say sorry Gaffer.

    Yeah, suss it out FAST.

    OK. So even if one doesn't agree with the restorative / mollycoddle teenagers with issues because IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT.. school of thought... perhaps the skill to develop is speed of sussing...

    And, yeah maybe, keep door closed, and never ever summon on call...
  9. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Yep. You have to decide between right thing to do and what SLT will like.....

    Sorry you lost the gig. It's happened to me. I was well annoyed - first time I hadn't left place immaculate in case I I decided over weekend not to go back...
    pepper5, agathamorse and tonymars like this.
  10. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Agree absolutely about sussing out the school. Find several staff to just chat to about how effective the behaviour system is and which SLT actually care about pupil behaviour. And always befriend the Shouters with Radios. But all this needs to be done in the brief honeymoon period when the kids, staff and any other interested parties realise that you're better than the rubbish cover/supply that was there before

    So I disagree with this
    set out your stall whilst you can do so and while all interested parties realise that they want you to stay there rather than be replaced by...…. nobody, in the near future.

    DISCLAIMER: I'm very lucky in offering maths/science and so am not subject to the competitive forces that I think you suffer.
    Volderama, agathamorse and tonymars like this.
  11. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Deirds. Thanks for reminding me I am not alone. Did you really lose a gig because you didn't leave the place - presumably classroom - immaculate?:mad:

    JJ. Good advice again.
    In my case I had no time to chat to other staff on my first day. I was briefed 5 mins before first lesson. I was told then however to use the system. Two hours later I am faced with mess of a class dominated by 3 off the wall disruptive and disaffected teenagers who I later learned were all notorious. Went through the warning ****** and used on call to have all three removed. HOD brought one to me who very reluctantly admitted, hand over her mouth, that she may have talked out of turn a little, but this was due to the fact that I had refused to let her go to the toilet to put cream on her chapped lips. Utter rubbish of course but I said ok let's move on.
    Next lesson all three took their revenge (their parents had been contacted) by behaving even more obnoxiously. Head of Year appeared, didn't enter room but lurked outside. When the class noticed this, one of the nutters walked and protested loudly to said HOY thst she 'didn't like this teacher.' Then enter deputy head...

    Hey ho.

    Maybe I should seriously look into becoming a tourist guide over the dead summer months. Or even a window cleaner. In a more affluent area where I can rake in loadsamoney TAX FREE.
    JohnJCazorla, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  12. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    No,no, I lost the gig because I told HT in front of an unruly class that I had problems with that particular group. (She was the third SLT person into that lesson, riot act read by HoD at start, I called On Call "they seem ok to me, what do you want me to do about I", HY attracted by noise.

    It upset me that I had left work disorganized ( 300 assessments to mark that week).

    Or, as my son said, "They can't sack you, you've been wanting to resign for weeks"

    No real loss, except a certain sense of pride...
    JohnJCazorla, a1976, tonymars and 2 others like this.
  13. a1976

    a1976 Established commenter

    YOu know, I have a theory (maybe a silly one) that SLT and cover managers get teachers/supply staff as a game to see how long some will last and what they can do to make them leave. Silly I know.

    However, I think the situation in schools is so bad that you can't even throw money at it anymore. I've heard so many people say they wouldn't teach in this country if they were paid 50,000 a year as a starting point. This is quite scary!
    speechcompanyinfo likes this.
  14. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Get or bet? If bet, yes, could well be, it wouldn't surprise me.
  15. Volderama

    Volderama New commenter

    I'm doing a 1/2 term supply (Maths & Science) in a school in special measures and they treat me better than permanent staff.... There's a permanent post available and they are wondering why I'm not interested in applying.
    I have a top set Y7 class and they are quite honestly the worst Y7 class I've ever taught in 10 years of teaching. So rude and entitled, I cannot imagine what they will be like in Y9, let alone Y11!

    On call are some mythical entity, people have heard of them but they're never seen
    pepper5, agathamorse and JohnJCazorla like this.
  16. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    I've just heard from the agency about what the school said were the reasons for curtailing my contact. A mixture of the misleading and frankly untrue, none of which "details" were mentioned to when I was told my services were no longer required. I simmer with anger and the sheer injustice of this.

    Here's a question: do we, as supplies, have a right to see what schools say about us to the agencies? And if we don't agree, what can we do?
  17. a1976

    a1976 Established commenter

    There's absolutely nothing you can do. Supply is basically zero hour contracts and if they don't want us there one day, all they have to do is pick up the phone to the agency.
    pepper5, agathamorse and tonymars like this.
  18. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    IS THERE nothing, LEGALLY ? Does anyone know?
  19. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    No, there's nothing you can do.
    Moving forward, it's the relationship with your agency which counts more than what the school say. I have heard of agencies not offering subsequent bookings to staff who are not invited to return. But equally there are agencies who understand or are perhaps indifferent to what happens in school, and see you as viable irrespective. With the latter sort, you can ask and discuss what the school has said about you. And state your side of things.

    One thing I have found out is that if you have a contract stipulating a week's notice by both parties, a school is able to circumvent that if they say they find you have done something wrong. So if they find a an ingenious and low cost staffing solution suddenly, it is very handy to discover at the same time that you have abused one or other of their policies. Saves them a week's agency fees.

    This is just speculation, but something a friend of mine believes to have experienced, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens around the time Year 11 leave also. I know a couple of supply teachers who have allegedly erred in some way precisely in that week, now there's a thing.

    In your shoes-try to move forward from this. As much as you don't know where your next money comes from, it's always a nice feeling when something does come up, and it will.
  20. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Sbk. Wise words.

    Before I read your post, I was still simmering and thinking about asking the school to forward to me the e mail they send the agency. And then I would have......... ?

    Moving forward... I guess it's up to me to get my head right. Boss.
    JohnJCazorla and sbkrobson like this.

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