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Dealing with Social/Generalised Anxiety in the Classroom and Other Potential Behavioural Issues

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by KristianG93, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. KristianG93

    KristianG93 New commenter


    This is my first time posting on a community discussion page! I am new to the profession, just training in fact! I am on a PGCE in Further Education and Training so I am currently teaching 14+ and adults. My placement is within a general F.E college within the Performing Arts Department here.

    The college has limited LSA support and the support they have is overstretched and therefore there is not appropriate LSA support within the classroom. I have only been teaching for two months!

    Within the department we they have decided to merge both years from the Level 3 BTEC with the HNC Level 4 course so they can all work on a production ready for Christmas. All together there are sixty within the one space, which I have seen through observations and team teaching is a great challenge. I have now started solo teaching and have regular contact with this group. Among them a good number suffer from depression, anxiety and aspergers and others from other behavioural issues.

    I love teaching the group, however I have began to realise that many of the personal/mental/behavioural issues among them of highly prevalent. The College does not have the facilities to accommodate such a challenging group and it is clear that they need extra support.

    My question is, what can I do as a trainee to alleviate the situation within my own classrooms in order to make the learning more productive and enjoyable, and what strategies can I use when circumstances such as panic attacks arise within the classroom that I cannot ignore, without disturbing the progress and learning of the rest of the class.

    Communication about the extent to which certain issues affect an individual are often withheld from me due to confidentiality, so I feel that I am entering the class almost blind and without the opportunity to do what I can in my planning to avoid triggers and have what support I can find or devise in place for them...

    My mentor keeps emphasising that I should not worry about this as whilst I am at placement I will not be expected to know how to overcome, but I cannot help thinking that this will cause a deficiency in my training. I want to specialise in SEND for my enhancement which is not until March, and even so, if an ordinary teacher was in a situation such as this, would they be expected to overcome the situation, I suggest they will since this is the profession that we have chosen to undertake. This situation is a regular occurrence within the group so I feel that if I am to manage them affectively and advice that you all can give me on this situation would be a great help to my training and to my students!!

    Hope you have time to help a trainee in need!!

    K x
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    There is nothing you can do to fix this situation, you can only show that you planned to anticipate it by requesting from your school mentor the support of savvy and responsive teaching assistants and then recording this for your teaching file. Document all discussions you have with anyone at the school or your ITT, by whatever medium, that you can show you raised your concerns in timely and appropriate ways. Remember that your mentor is not your friend but is making judgements about you always, so cover yourself.

    Be wary of SEND schools, their staff tend to regard their students something like a hybrid of a china doll and a lapdog. Expect a student to do anything new (a point of education) that their TAs have decided can't be done due to a string of diagnostic abbreviations, and you're in trouble. Should you experience threats or violence from students, the school will expect you, wrongly, not to report this. It's barking, frankly, that trainees cannot access the information necessary to their own safety and to those of their students despite having DBS and being invited in by the school itself. In some places you'll be lucky to be given a key.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    No LSA whatsoever or no LSA you find useful?

    Sixty??? On your own???

    You will learn one important lesson. How to survive. I don't know how anyone can be expected to teach in that situation.

    Overstretched? I'll say. They saw you coming, I'm afraid. Classic case of amalgamating groups to save money and give the student the brown end of the stick. Any problems? Well, you're just inexperienced. No blame attached to you or the management. Or so they will rationalise it.

    Not that this helps you except as an indication of how things are in FE and you also need to know they will get much worse (government funding).

    You poor, poor thing.

    The only thing YOU can get out of it is to make an unofficial mini case-study of some SEN students. Try to enjoy it and try to make it enjoyable for the students and good luck!

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