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Been accused of inappropriate language

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Noteasyprofession, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. Noteasyprofession

    Noteasyprofession New commenter

    I had a horrendous lesson, covering for a new school. I told several culprits to sit down. I had one come up continuously, aggressively to me and keep threatening that I hadn't said his name correctly. Hadn't marked the register and couldn't get the lesson going. eventually I said that he should stop clowning around, and when he wouldn't - year 10, GCSE class, I said stop acting like a monkey. Because he simply wouldn't let me get the class going. I do regret coming out with what was unhelpful remark to anyone you are trying to teach, but a black student latched on and accused me of being racist. I had never thought of it as racist language and didn't single out the student because of this. It was supply work at a school and I tried to explain it to the head of year- that three students simply disrupted the class, I did apologise for using terms that didn't seem right.
    I find that in supply work you are simply used as fodder in schools and the behaviour in some schools simply dominates bad behaviour over students who want to learn.
  2. 9497

    9497 New commenter

    you said like. Not you are. I suspect the black student was playing along with the disruption and making it an issue (this has happened to me). Tell the agency not to send you back there and tell them why. If they are decent they will understand (there is a local school they know that I will refuse to work at and there is no issue with that).
  3. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Gosh, that is a bad day!

    But look on the bright side

    - you are supply teaching and can decide never to go there again.
    - no one died
    - no one set the fire alarm off for the joy of it
    - furniture was still whole and in place at end odd lesson/day
    - you were not physically attacked by pupil, parent or sibling
    - no one spat at you

    Next time you go into school make sure you know
    - behaviour , reward & sanction policy
    - who you can refer to for help
    - list of children with BSP, IEP, medical needs
    - any children with interesting quirks of character

    Office staff should have print outs of these details for supply teacher.

    I shall be joining supply ranks, soon.

    You don't work in Suffolk do you? Perhaps you could pm so I can avoid that school.

  4. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Just don't go there again.
    It is easier for the school to blame you than support you.

    We all understand. Learn from it. Put it behind you. If I were a priest I would absolve you. As I am Yoda- it's " don't let the ****** grind you down Luke.
  5. Noteasyprofession

    Noteasyprofession New commenter

    Thanks for your encouragement. I think I was genuinely shocked that after such aggressive behaviour- unable to take registration for fifteen mins- the head of department would've seen through that. I know teachers are very positive people and never intentionally abusive- I find this 'catching teachers out' disgusting....and we are in a 'system' where we should care. Common sense should prevail....I fight against racism in campaigns and work and do tonnes of human rights work, to have your words misconstrued...is horrid...And the student I addressed it to was walking up and down into my space harassing me that I hadn't said his name right!!!! I'm all for enlightened PC teaching....but this 'catching teacher out...' will only make us all more robotic in what we do...and compassionless when compassion is needed
  6. Noteasyprofession

    Noteasyprofession New commenter

  7. Noteasyprofession

    Noteasyprofession New commenter

    God bless you Yoda...definitely learned from it...we are in a noble profession to uplift students' aspirations...I would never target a student...but when a bunch of 15 year olds are intent to make their supply lesson not work on a Friday afternoon!!!! I had some lovely students quiet thank me for the lesson after and I feel sorry for the 95 per cent of students who wanted a lesson minus the drama. I am all for looking at behaviour needs...and feel strongly re ethical stuff, and poor quality stuff coming out of mind- but hell....the system is grinding me down. I never want to teach again...I have encouraged students of all nationalities colours...u name it...I am reminded of an incident where a friend ten years ago- brilliant teacher suddenly was accused of touching a student....gripping his arm...that chap went through so much pain...He committed suicide! leaving three children...the school didn't back him....and at his funeral came students...Punjabis, somalians, white...so many over the years who'd been inspired by him and even studied maths later!!!! I wasn't a teacher....but couldn't understand the level of victimisation he felt. .....yesterday hand on heart I truly felt the ganging up of a bunch of students and fifteen minutes my reaction to them was not right. But heck the victimisation of students who are out of control.....and dominating poor behaviour classrooms....you have to be a saint to be a nteacher now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    guinnesspuss and grumpydogwoman like this.
  8. grussell1

    grussell1 New commenter

    Gosh sounds awful. I hope you're OK. One day I was teaching an English lesson to Y5 and described an unhappy character as 'gutted' - I felt terrible and instantly I knew it was the wrong thing to say, I felt awful for days on end afterwards. To use slang terms in a lesson was so unprofessional and if you really think about the true meaning of the word, goodness me! I felt like I had taught the lovely innocent children a terrible, slang, dirty, common word. I kept my head down and never returned to that school!

    Moral of the story, we all make mistakes and we are all human.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi noteasyprofession

    As other posters have suggested, don't bother going back the school. If the school had supported you, then I would say perhaps give them a second chance; and behaviour like that does not happen overnight or just because you arrived: it is a gradual erosion of the standards and probably occurs on a daily basis. Just be thankful you are not there on a permanent contract.

    Around where I live there are several schools I simply had to stop going to for my mental health. I've never felt physically threatened as it is more mental. I was at a school once and a student opened the door to the room I was in and yelled out: a obscenity closed, opened the door then yelled out another obscenity. I was so ashamed to report that, but I did and the school found the person who did it because there was CCTV outside the door of the class. The student had some special needs, but even so. I haven't even told my husband since I know he already worries about me.

    I can highly recommend a book to you called Taking Care of Behaviour by Paul Dix. After reading this book, it changed my attitude: I learned how to remain calm no matter what and I also use scripts on what to say if I need to discipline students. By using these scripts I feel in control since I don't have to think about what to say - I already know what to say thereby reducing the risk of saying something that is going to be misconstrued.

    In the particular situation you describe, I would recommend two things:

    It is not always possible, but if you can write 3 rules up on the board:

    Follow instructions fast
    Stay on task
    Work without disturbing others

    Those three rules cover everything ( or most things)

    Don't try to even take the register until everyone is settled. If you have a large group of 30+ students, while they are getting settled, walk around the room to say hello and say that they need to get coats off, bags under the table, and you will be taking the register when you go back to the front. I find this helps since they then have a friendly reminder that the class is about to begin.

    Don't try to take the register until everyone is settled. Usually, there are a few names I don't know the pronunciation of. I learned a new trick recently: if a friendly looking student is sitting near the front, point to the name and ask them for the pronunciation: it works a treat.

    If all else fails and you can't settle the group ( which does happen in rough schools) within 10 minutes despite going through the above steps, call for on call or assistance. I carry a note in my pocket already written out and just hand it to a reliable looking student and ask them to take it to reception.

    There are some great schools to go to where you won't get challenging behaviour, but the majority of supply is in schools with behaviour issues since the teachers are off with stress. Another problem is that the supply teacher will also get the most difficult classes - yesterday I am sure I had the one of the most difficult classes in the school on a Friday afternoon.

    In summary, don't worry about what happened: learn from it and improve your technique. Supply teaching requires a unique set of skills and you develop those as you go, but the main thing is to always remain calm and know when to ask for assistance. The schools who support you will be the ones you will go back to and if the school does not support you then don't go back; and always remember that the poor behaviour is NOT your fault.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  10. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Some pupils just love to play the race card to rattle you and see your reaction. I took to saying, very calmly " If you think that I have just made a racist remark aimed at you, go to the Head and report me. Now." They never did.
  11. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    You are very, very vulnerable as a supply teacher.

    But still I wouldn't have used the word monkey in these politically correct times.
    pepper5 likes this.
  12. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    I would not worry about it because you certainly didn't mean "monkey" in a racist way. Several months ago, I told a student to act her age and this rattled her to the point of reporting me to the Head of History. However, he knew I didn't mean any harm and those in charge of the school you were at will probably not either. Nothing to worry about but I'm sorry you had a bad day. Remember, what is acceptable at one school may not be acceptable at another school (even if the school is five minutes away).
  13. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    As others have said, noteasyprofession, thas one school to cross off your list. You will probably find its been crossed off many supply teachers' lists (although the school isn't getting the message).

    Its very easy to say something in innocence but have it taken the wrong way (or more likely deliberately twisted the wrong way). Some students (as with adults), from all backgrounds, have a chip on their shoulder and will go out of their way to make trouble. Fortuantly these are in the minority and all but a few will recognise a genuine slip of the tongue. So I wouldn't worry about it but learn from it.

    I once told a student to stop being a clever dick without thinking much to the assument of the rest of the class. :oops:
  14. tackles

    tackles Occasional commenter

    I was accused of racism by a pupil who said that my inability to pronounce his name (lots of consonants, not enough vowels) was clearly racist.
    I told him that I wasn't being racist as we were both of the same race. As we were clearly from very different ethnic backgrounds, this stalled him for a few seconds, before he scoffed & said that we definitely weren't the same race.

    I replied, "Really? That surprises me. You see, I'm a member of the human race, I thought you were too. Are you saying you aren't?"

    He was quiet for the rest of the lesson. Risky, I know, but luckily it worked on this occasion!
  15. joannagb

    joannagb Occasional commenter

    LOVE that comment tackles, I'll be using it myself!
  16. joannagb

    joannagb Occasional commenter

    My priorities for supply are:
    1. safety
    2. behaviour
    3. learning
    in that order, learning is so far down the list as far as I'm concerned, making sure that everyone is safe and not having an awful day is far more important.
    That school sounds awful, stay away!
  17. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I really don't understand why behaviour in schools is getting so difficult. What is so hard about sitting down, listening and doing a bit of work? Generally, from what I can see, the classrooms are clean, some being newly built, mostly highly trained teachers who care about their students teach the lessons, computers, paper, pens, art equipment, libraries, coffee shops, football pitches and more.

    Even with the regular teachers the behaviour in some schools is appalling, so with a visiting teacher it may even be worse.

    No one seems to tell the misbehaving students the truth: I am grateful that you are not coming home with me at the end of the day and so you should be too because if you were coming home with me you would be grounded forever.

    Of course there are the exceptions: the students with broken families, learning difficulties etc...but for lot of these kids they have everything they need and they still are not grateful and do not have manners.

    Of course there are wonderful students and I am delighted to have met many of these; but it seems there are more and more instances of students bullying teachers like the OP's experience. - that students was deliberately looking for a victim to pick on.
    Noteasyprofession likes this.
  18. Noteasyprofession

    Noteasyprofession New commenter

    Moral of the story, we all make mistakes and we are all human.[/QUOTE]
    Thanks so much for your encouragement. Yes we definitely don't want to put anyone down, but we are human beings....and I am afraid that my compassion to encourage people will just wane and wane and soon there will be so many robotic PC replies coming out of my mouth that students who are savvy will know I just don't care. On reflection--- yes, yes....professionalism is paramount,.....but this profession puts 200 per cent on the teacher and a lot less on students. I know student have bad days, poor places they are coming from, but I worry that in all this, some are just playing the game. Definitely I can improve- thanks for sharing with me what it is to be human even as students gang up on you.
  19. Noteasyprofession

    Noteasyprofession New commenter

    Thanks for your encouragement. On the whole I have not had an experience like that in that school, but it is happening once a week- and the 'characters' I fear are dominating the classroom. I am writing down each bit of your rules.....And sticking to them....Pupil progression I keep thinking each second, perhaps I need to just keep it minimum and keep giving supply teachers a bad rep. Thanks
    joannagb likes this.
  20. Noteasyprofession

    Noteasyprofession New commenter

    Thanks!!! for sharing this....human beings trying to get these young human beings to higher levels!!!!! I think this class and there were around six of them went on about pronunciation- I usuallysay politely that I am here for the day- and frankly it was all Asian and black students playing up and I am an Asian too!!!! But what gets me is the head of department couldn't see this wasted 15 mins of a maths lesson- how are students going to progress academically with all this nonsense going on? you brought it so gracefully to a conclusion- we are part of the human race. Students are getting rude and it is acceptable in schools...I don't accept it ...that's why I let it drag out ....15 mins to register a year 10 class!

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