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Bullied by pupils

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by grantgust, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    We used to have a 'mess with one, mess with all' policy (unofficial). Teachers would take pupils from the 'bad' classes to sit at the back of their 'good' ones, SLT would patrol, pop in now and then to ask whether anyone was stopping other people learning, and if so, remove them. Many of us would offer to support in frees-even if that sometimes meant taking some ba ones to sit in the hall copying from a textbook while you marked. Before any 2017 teacher starts moaning that this wasn't teaching and was depriving the little darlings- MOST of them didn't repeat this behaviour, and at least the rest of the class got to learn in peace. Parents were phoned (some cared-enough to help at least a little bit). There were always some who would keep trying it on, but this stopped the majority of the trouble.
    knitone, T0nyGT, grantgust and 6 others like this.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I remember doing the same. It's remarkable how being moved to another class where they are not so sure of their 'audience' can make really 'tough' characters uncertain and compliant.
  3. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Agree completely, it is really difficult but try to draw a line under each lesson and persevere afresh the next, they get bored easily and will eventually realise that they are wasting their own time and opportunities. It's a test and our strength is the extent to which we can keep up the "act" of holding it all completely and utterly together.

    One key thing I was taught on the PGCE yonks ago is that if they aren't listening wait... wait for silence. *Unless you are being observed. But you cannot proceed until they are listening to instructions so wait as long as it takes, in my experience the first few times are the worst as each minute feels like an hour. I used to fold my arms and just stand at the front having said "I am waiting for quiet so I can begin" if it went on for too long I would say "Errm I am waiting", accompanied by a stern serious but not angry look - if they see they can affect your emotions they will push further. It's BFL strategy for many of us an it is the bread and butter stuff that we need to persevere with until we gain the respect that means as they walk in they are silent... don't give up, it can happen it just takes time and your patience. They are children they will behave like them and take every advantage they can get away with until they begin to grow up. When the results come out those same children will likely thank you for your patience and apologise for the start of year 10 then opt for your subject in KS5. It is to some extent about them growing up. All the best with it, you aren't alone but many of us come out the other side.

    Once you have a reputation for consistency the rabble dies down.

  4. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter

    There's your problem. In that one phrase you have summed it up. Unfortunately you will absolutely have to be proactive, you can't just ignore it and hope it will go away. A raft of great ideas, tricks of the trade and strategies have been suggested in earlier posts. Make a list of the ones that sound like they would suit you and your teaching style then start trying them out.

    This is exactly the situation you are in so realise you won't get results overnight. But be determined and let them see you are determined.
    Remember most of us have experienced this kind of situation in some form or other and we are all still here to tell the tale. :)

    Hopefully your department colleagues will be supportive and helpful too for fast removal options when necessary.

    We still do this. Sometimes, for certain individuals, the lesson for today is how to behave like a human being and have consideration for others.

    Look into having a LSA or TA with this group too (even if temporary) so you have in class support while you tame them. Did I say tame :oops: - actually, yes I did, and I meant it!

    It's you or them, and you've worked too hard and too long to become a teacher for it to be them. Good luck.
  5. Aaaarghghgh

    Aaaarghghgh New commenter

    Some colleagues used to advocate 'divide and conquer', where the teacher picks on the ringleader to the degree where the rest of the class were glad that it wasn't them being picked on. In that way they became the leader of the group. It's very unethical and I would not personally advise it. At all.
    grantgust likes this.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Right, sunshine, you're spending the rest of the morning in with YR 1.

    That reciprocal agreement worked well. But these are hulking great adolescents who are mercilessly taking the piece. I am guessing it's not a core subject and they don't feel it's important to achieve anything. So the 'you'll regret this when you get your results' lecture won't work.

    You have to get the hard core removed because you are not getting anywhere with these kids as it is. Then you can implement all the above. But it's March! Has this been going on all year?
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I AM in FE. The behaviour is far, far, worse than in schools. The students are not there because they want to be, they are there because they Have to stay in education until they are 18. OP's students will not stay at school. They will go to FE.
    I can more or less forecast that they will fail English and Maths and will have to re-take. They don't want to re-take. They may possibly want to become hairdressers or car mechanics or plumbers or health and social care students or animal care or agriculture workers. They may not want to become any of the above but may have signed on to the course for ' a bit of a laugh/something to do'. They are not actually planning on doing any work on their course and will be late handing in assignments. Their vocational teachers will run round doing everything they can to tick boxes and get them through the course.
    The real problem come with English and Maths. Having not paid attention at school they haven't got a clue what is going on. Then they revert to type. My particular group went to school together. Their proud boast is that they 'got rid' of 7 English teachers at school and their college English teacher last year. This year they have 'got rid' of their Maths teacher. I'm hanging on in there. I don't really know why.
    SonaHerr, ATfan, nervousned and 4 others like this.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Oh @saluki I know, I know.

    When I retired from teaching I did a bit of part-time TA supply at FE. Level 1 Hair and Beauty girls doing their Maths and English.

    I lasted a few days before telling the agency I wouldn't be going back. OMG!!!!! :eek:o_O:mad:

    They were vile. Phones out the whole time. Totally disrespectful. Baiting each other. Nightmare. There wasn't an actual fight but everything short of it.

    Complete waste of everyone's time. Complete waste of government money.

    (The agency redeployed me to Computer Games Design and other geeky stuff. That was absolutely fine. Total breeze. Mind you, it was Level 3!!!!)
    ATfan, pepper5, saluki and 2 others like this.
  9. pennyh.

    pennyh. Occasional commenter

    The SMT support works if they engage in the lesson and help check pupils work and make it clear they are there for you. Too many pupils view SMT as there to 'judge' the teacher and whether the lesson 'engages' them etc. etc. They know the system and how to play it. SMT have to agree that any style of teaching and any task is OK and that the 'objective' to re-assert authority over the class. Otherwise you will spend hours planning and worrying about your lesson because SMT/HOD are in. In pitting teacher against teacher for pay rises etc Gove did a lot of damage to collective staff support.
  10. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Mess with one mess with all. What a great idea. Does this REALLY happen in some schools? Wait for silence. Usually works but what to do when it doesn't? Consistency? Ah yes I always thought that - before. peggylu - I completely agree.Divide and conquer - I have used this and it has worked. FE - never taught in the sector but I can well imagine and I have read Wilt by the late, great Tom Sharpe. pennyh - too many pupils view SMT ss there to judge the teacher..absolutley, but it wasn't always like this...
    grantgust and pennyh. like this.
  11. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    Once I waited for three whole lessons for a break in the noise. Three whooooole lessons. I stood at the front and just waited, stared, glared, waited...and nothing. They were way more interested in Chanice's new nose ring and Keerey's (yes, real name) developing pregnancy belly. I may as well not have been there.

    Eventually I wrote on the board 'Teacher available for consultation' on the board and sat at my desk. I planned lessons, did some marking, ignored them completely. One girl came to the front and asked me what I was doing and the others started listening when I described what I was reading. They liked my story and asked me to read some of the book to them. So we started building a tentative relationship from that little seed. It took a lot of time and a lot of patience but we managed to get to the point where phones stayed in pockets for whole half hour blocks, and where we sat and talked through problems instead of fist fights starting immediately.

    Absolute consistency is the watchword, but good lord, it takes you to hell and back waiting to see if it works.
    knitone, T0nyGT, saluki and 9 others like this.
  12. bflat

    bflat New commenter

    We've all been there with horrible classes. I've found that handing them a relatively simple task (possibly with a competitive element) as they walk in through the door and having the instructions on the board so they can get straight on seems to help. That way you remove the battle for quiet at the beginning of the lesson and they are immediately on task. I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time, it is totally demoralising.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I would definitely recommend the method @secretsiren suggests. It WILL work. It takes guts but it WILL work.
  14. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I remember once, with my difficult 28 pupil (very) LA set, doing something that Ted Wragg recommended- starting to draw something (a face I think) on the board.
    I remember I spent a long time drawing before anyone even noticed.;)
    However as stated you have to believe you're going t win in the end and persevere.
    grumpydogwoman, grantgust and pepper5 like this.
  15. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    Well if that day comes, SLT would use it against you.
    pepper5 likes this.
  16. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    I admire your determination and method and I might try that tactic.

    saluki's post 27 is very accurate. Perhaps the funding of FE needs to be changed and that students do not get an automatic right to a further two years of wasting tax payers' money.

    We work so hard to see our money just thrown away.
    ATfan and grumpydogwoman like this.
  17. grantgust

    grantgust New commenter

    Thank you everyone for your advice, I will try different strategies and see which one will work. It makes me feel a little better knowing that I am not alone, I am not the only one who ever had a nasty class and other people went through it as well... yes it's not a core subject but being their final years you would think they would be interested in getting a C at least.

    Thank you for your support, it does feel like they are breaking me, but you are all right, it's a battle I can't let them win.
    I liked the idea of ' teacher available for consultation'. I don't look unperturbed and they do manage to wind me up and make me angry or defeated, and it's probably why they are carrying on.

    I did try setting them independent work, with instructions on the board, but they don't do that. I shared where they are at the moment in terms of achieving their target grade, but they are uninterested in that as well.

    HoD and SMT ARE supportive, however for some reasons it feels like for pupils in the final years there is a different standard of behaviour where school try not to upset them. From the gist I got, it's not advisable to throw them out to the workroom as they must be learning and making progress in classrooms. I'd stay their study leave in May is my dim light at the end of this tunnel.
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  18. grantgust

    grantgust New commenter

    I tried to do that, but then I had the whole group against to 'defend' the ringleader!
  19. grantgust

    grantgust New commenter

    I shall do that next time!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  20. grantgust

    grantgust New commenter

    so do you just start drawing on the board until someone notices? how does it work? What do you do when they finally pay attention?

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