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Dear Tom and others: problems with a year 9 pupil!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by coolasacucumber, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. Who is your line manager? Can you speak to him with that person? If he is refusing to obey your instructions, I would start commenting to him that he appears not to be coping in a mainstream school. Tell his parents that, too. There is a pretty serious health and safety risk if he insists on walking away from you every time you talk to him.
    On a longer-term note, I would find out more about him and what he is interested in and try to engage him and create a relationship with him. I expect you (unwittingly) give off rays of irritation/annoyance/possibly fear or uncertainty with him, and this is not conducive to him responding to you.
    Get him when he is least expecting it. Ask for him to be sent to your office, or room. Create behaviour agreements that you can refer to. Show him how you work with other members of staff. When the staff he does respond to are telling him off about something, stand near them in support, and add in your two penneth.
    And don't worry - we've all been there with Nightmare Child. The fact that he obviously responds well to other staff is annoying, but try to think of it as him making you into a better teacher. If they were all angels we'd never have to improve!
  2. Thanks very much for your comments, they have really helped. We are an sen school so in a way, we have to account for these behaviours whilst also trying to modify them! I'm wondering if to try to organise some sort of behaviour chart to use in my lessons with rewards or tokens related to his interests. I will keep him behind tomorrow and talk to him with another member of staff there.
    Thanks again. I know I'm not going to be teaching him next year but want to try to make some progress with him before the end of term!
  3. Hi Fiona. The boy you are describing sounds almost identical to a lad I work with who also has Aspergers and ADHD although he is 17 so a bit older than your boy. I work on a residential unit attached to a special school and this young man is 1 of only 2 verbal teenagers on the unit. We get a lot of swearing, spitting, punches, kicks and slaps and it can often take 2 staff restraining him to keep him safe as he can be very physically aggressive and he is a strong lad who is 6 feet tall and weighs 14 and a half stone. He is different from your boy though in that there's no-one he can be relied upon to behave for, not even the head! I also have Aspergers myself although I was a real "goodie goodie" when I was at school. What we have found works well with our young man is a visual activity reward chart. If he does all his daily tasks and behaves in both the morning and afternoon periods at school, he gets to pick an activity of his choice such as a soft drink in the local pub garden or a trip out shopping on the minibus and this really motivates him. As soon as he has done a task, he takes the corresponding sticker and puts it in a slot labelled "Finished" so he can see how close he is to getting his reward each time. Not sure how it would work with your boy as I take it you are a day school although I could be wrong. Have you spoken to his parents about it? Have they come up with any ideas that could help?
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi Fiona
    You face a double pressure: the desire to modify and amend this little charmer's behaviour, and the pressure you feel (or you impose upon yourself) to be able to handle this because of your position. However, in many ways, the latter factor is irrelevant. The key issue is, what is to be done?
    I think that, even though your school, being specifically created to cater for SEN etc, probably has a different envelope of acceptability in terms of what children can and cannot do, this boy's behaviour is extreme- threats of a violent sexual nature can no longer be excused as .'That's just him, he's like that.' They fall off the cliff of acceptability. Even boys with aspergers and ADHD know perfectly well that shouting they're going to rape someone etc is wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm worried that his EBD status is allowing him to mask behaviour that, otherwise, would have been dealt with in a more serious way. You say you've tried all the sanctions available- so move on to the next level. He's clearly testing the boundaries with you in an ugly and violent way.
    So exclude him- he is, quite literally, asking for it. I suspect that part of the reason that he keeps pushing you (apart from being, presumably, innately very unpleasant) is that he doesn't see you as one of the Top Dogs yet. And if he keeps getting detention after detention to no avail, it's clear that the routine levels of sanctions are water from his back. So go up a grade and tell him his appalling behaviour has had consequences- a few days out.
    And tell him in the exclusion meeting, that if he keeps up with the tactics he currently uses, he'll be looking for another school before too long. And I mean do this EVERY time he makes a comment against you, refuses to follow your instructions, etc. He wants strict? So give it to him. If a school is to run efficiently and safely, the people below you need to know that the people at the top have got teeth as well as a bark. But warnings and lines and 'the talk' are no good for kids like this. They need to see some steel.
    He deserves more punitive sanctions: and it's the most effective strategy to use, so you have it on two counts. Some kids are harder than mere detentions and a good talking to can amend. That's how he'll learn to respect your position of authority- by showing it.
    Good luck
  5. Thanks for all your comments and advice, much appreciated. Will give it a try!

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