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Dear Tom...any ideas so appreciated - at my wits end

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by petalhead, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. Hi Tom,

    If you have time to help I'd be so grateful.
    I teach a large class of Y6's. There are a lot of SEN and behavioural issues so I bend over backwards to talk to the children about their interests, build self-esteem wherever I can, and I am meticulous about planning activities that they will find interesting and suitable for their abilities. I must add that on the flipside I follow our behaviour policy to the letter with all the children, and insist they follow our class rules, so I don't feel I come across as a pushover.

    My problem is that one boy has become so challenging that I feel he can't get through a single lesson or break time without a fight with another pupil, a tantrum, or direct defiance. He seems to enjoy being the victim, and telling me about all the things the other children have said and done to him, but on many ocassions his tales have unravelled as being a pack of lies. No matter how much I recognise good behaviour and talk to him about friendships etc. it just doesn't seem to make a difference.Today was a final straw for me when he started shouting in my face and throwing a chair, two things he has not done before. His mum is supportive in that she will ground him when I tell her about fights etc, but the behaviour is just getting worse and worse (no cause that I can ascertain from mum or the boy in question).

    My HT always comes back at me with questions as to what I am doing to prevent problems with him, rather than offering any real support, so to be honest I just feel undermined and like there is nowhere to turn on this one - and so it continues.

    As I said, others in the class are also very challenging, so I really feel like I'm struggling just to cope, let alone actually teach! He is starting to dominate every minute of my day, and is affecting the learning of the others since I spend so long dealing with him (perhaps rewarding him with my attention?).

    I don't know what I expect you to be able to say, but if you have any other ideas for dealing with behaviour like this, it would be great.
  2. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Poor you; you;re moving mountains, and being expected to juggle them to. The hard work you;re putting in- and I think it sounds like you're doing EXACTLY The right thing incidentally- to the class is at grave risk of being undermined here, by the actions of one, as it so often is.
    This boy needs to be isolated; every day he acts up, he needs to be removed from the group until the end of the morning/ afternoon; find somewhere he can be removed to, a panic maroon, a quiet room, the Head's study, what ever you can find. He works alone until he can get through an entire morning in relative peace. If he messes about in class, he gets removed from the class and put into solitary for the next half day. Work out the details yourself, but get this set up.
    Your HT isn't helpful? Make her helpful; ask her if she can help arrange this. Tell her you need it in order to teach this young charmer about the values of the community, and what happens to people who abuse their peers and their learning, It sounds tough, but he needs a tough lesson now. He needs to realise that attention and love isn't gained through being unpleasant, but by complying with the needs of others.
    Good luck
    Read more from Tom on his blog, or on his Twitter here.
  3. Thank you for your replies, and thank you so much Tom for the constructive advice. I absolutely agree that your ideas will help this boy to learn about acceptable behaviour in society - I hadn't thought of putting it to my HT in that way so that will be my next strategy in getting her to take this seriously.

    Thanks for the support, I was really feeling like it was just me, but I see that it is very much the problem of the child concerned and the ethos of my school.

    Much appreciated
  4. Hi petalhead did your head teacher respond positively to your concerns? I hope so.
    I have a child in my class who I am no longer expected/allowed to take to sit outside the head's office to calm down because of varying reasons and am expected to deal with his violent behaviour owards my self and her peers thhrough what amounts to distraction tactics. Basically, the rest of the class and the staff just have to get on with it.
    Finally had enough of teaching and am planning on getting out as soon as possible. Hoping for a lottery win tonight!

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