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Dear James - Can't believe I'm actually needing to write this

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by lizzii_2008, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. lizzii_2008

    lizzii_2008 New commenter

    Hi,
    I am an NQT also but in search of a job so I am probably not the most experienced person to deal with this issue. However, I have worked with a really difficult Year 5 class who were aggressive, intimidating and all be it alot bigger than myself and I felt as is I couldn't handle it at all.
    I actually spent a lot of time talking to the children about behaviour and what they find acceptable within the class and the school and what kind of behaviours they do not think is right. To do this I gave each table a large piece of paper and a pen and got them each to create a class rules list which was then put together as the 'Class Rules'. On top of this discuss alternate reward systems - a sports afternoon, a film, free choice or art afternoon - something they really like doing. You could track this through marble collecting or a whole class sticker chart.
    I'd try and implement further positive strategies such as raffle tickets for prizes or rewards for those who display great behaviour.
    Maybe a zero tolernance out look on extreme behaviour such as pretending to kick you - no play, or loss of rewards straight away.
    Set your high expectations each day based upon the class rules put together.
    As you are getting to know your class maybe get some team games in there - there might be problems with friendships, self esteem and confidence within the class so build those up through fun games and activities.
    Hope some of this might - just a though!
    Also, have you spoken to their current or previous teacher about the behaviour and how they managed it? Or someone who is familiar with the class as you have said the children have had a lot of teachers.
     
  2. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    I've never done primary but I've has secondary classes like that. Personally, I'd avoid talking through rules too much. Even in y4, they must know what they are! I think you have to be very strict from the outset and keep them busy. Have a seating plan that either splits up groups of difficult children or keeps them in a group close to your desk. Be very nice to the good kids and ensure that there are rewards for good behaviour even if it's just praise or going out to play first. With the 'characters', act as if you've dealt with this sort of behaviour for years, and just won't have it. In secondary, even y7 sense a teacher's lack of confidence and you're dead meat if you let y10 upwards get the upper hand so you have to put on an act if you're feeling unsure. Finally, have a joke with individuals and get to know them all as soon as you can. Good luck! These classes take so much energy but, at least you have them for more than a lesson or two a day, so should be able to crack them in days rather than weeks.
     
  3. Some good advice already given but I just wanted to add the following;
    You must make classroom safety your number one priority. If you feel that things are becoming unsafe then stamp on the behaviour swiftly and from a great height. If that means everyone stopping what they are doing and sitting on the carpet in silence for 5 mins then so be it.
    Plan really structured activities at first. It sounds like this class has had so much change that they really are crying out for someone to take charge.
    At the beginning of the year I usually get my class to formulate their rules and then I can use the line, 'you made the rules...' Only you know whether or not this class would respond well to making their own rules.
    Keep any rules simple. Know them backwards yourself. Display them prominently. A session with the class on how to follow the rules, what's expected, rewards and sanctions would be a good idea, then they can't turn around and say 'we didn't know that'.
    Keep rewards and sanctions simple, fair, in proportion and consistent. Make sure that you choose a system that you can implement all year, even when extremely busy that won't take up too much of your time or resources. Try to make it a system that you can implement anywhere - on trips, playing sports etc.
    Be fair and consistent in your approach to all behaviour. Don't let any of your rules slide. Make sure that the sanctions are the same for all children.
    Smile. Laugh. Have fun. But only when they are behaving. Make it worth it for them to behave as they get the fun you.
    Have a chilled drink of choice on hand for when you get home in an evening! Good luck.
     
  4. Hi,
    The advice above is all great, so I'm not going to add to it. I just wanted to say that I completely understand your anxieties about this.
    In some ways, meeting your class early and spending some time in your new school is helpful; but, actually, I find that every time I have done this it just puts me off! Bare in mind that their behaviour will be worse than normal due to it being the end of term and due to your 'newness' (they are testing you). From Sep though, you are truly in charge of them and it will be through consistent implementation of your behaviour management strategies (which you have been told are very good previously) that you will get this class in shape. It is all about putting in the time and then it will pay off. Whenever I have had a notoriously 'difficult' class, they have been horrendous at first and I've worried how I will cope, but it ALWAYS gets better, and I always end up laughing about how bad they had seemed in the beginning. Sometimes, I have had to wait for just half a term to get them where I want, sometimes a whole term, and in one really challenging scenario it took me 2 whole terms! But you will get there.
    I promise you they will seem like pussycats next year! Don't worry about this AT ALL over the summer (whcih I presume they are paying you for!).

     
  5. HI,

    Again, I'm an NQT about to start my first post ( maybe you should post this in a behaviour thread to gain the attention of some more experienced teachers?) but I had a very challenging y5 class during my final placement. I think the main thing I have learnt to always include in ANY behaviour management, whether it be minor or major, is to relate your reasoning back to the real world (It's important that you ____ because in the future you'll come across/find/experience/see etc...) and give a logical reason for your actions/discipline which the child can relate to (I'm only telling you that you should ____ because you aren't showing respect/being fair with your classmates/showing me your best (i.e. Im disappointed because I know you can do better etc etc) OR I don't want to see you get hurt/hurt your friend/cause an argument/). Also, don't be afraid to have a heart to heart with a misbehaving child because the more you get to know their feelings/perspective (There is ALWAYS a reason for misbehaviour) the more you can level with them on a daily basis (you remind them of the deeper meanings you discuss) and respect and trust is built. If you are constantly seen as a disciplinarian you will not gain their respect; they have to know that you are doing it for reasons that will benefit them, not you (but really, they do benefit you as well!).

    Good Luck and don't give up - you CAN do it!
     
  6. I'll keep this brief.
    Any new class will try to push boundaries with new staff. Either right from thenstart or after a 'honeymoon period'. That said, if the class is known as a difficult class and is not the 'norm' for the school, then under the statutory guidelines the school should not place a NQT with this class. If it is a 'few' individuals, then again, they should be placed elsewhere.
    I would sit with your mentor and clarify the background to the class and get some documentation on their prior experiences with staff (e.g. how many teachers have they had in the past year, were there any class related reaosns for staff leaving etc. as this will be useful in helping you set priorities for you and your mentor in dealing with difficult situations. You need to discuss possible startegies forthe class - e,g. what you will be doing and what the mentor/manage,ment will do to support you - this may mean extra training or actual on trhe ground support.
    In essence behaviour managment is not the sole preserve of the class teacher. It must be a team effort where everybody plays their part - you follow the school discipline policy and in return the school supports you.
    Talk to the mentor about strategies that you can use as a teamj to deal with the class issues.
    A lot of behaviour management is down to children behaving that way because that';s the way they have always behaved. Changing their behaviour will take time and it is best to concentrate on one thing at a time and to etsablish routines that are applied fairly and consistently to all pupils. So what is the one thing that would make the biggest differnece to their behaviour try and establish this and change things so that they get into a routine.
    Raise concerns now, record them and make notes in meetings about what ypou have raised, asked for and what you wilol do to try and help change their behaviour. Approach this from the perspective that it must be a team effort and not you on your own who has to tame the class that has fallen into very bad habits and routines.
    Be firm, be fair be consistent and be part of a team effort.
    James
     
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    One of the few helpful things that I remember from my PGCE course back in the early 14th century was this little piece of advice: "Catch them being good." Even in a pretty awful class there will be some children (at least some of the time) who are behaving properly, concentrating and trying to learn. Try to encourage these children who are doing the right thing.
     

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