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Dear Tom - at my wits end

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by craftymiss, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. Can you give me some advice regarding my Yr10.4? Setting the scene: This is a year group where the dept (and the school) has had to divide and rule. There are a hard core of extremely badly behaved students who have no respect for authority, happy to disrupt the teaching and learning of others. Many of them are on a SMT "hit list" of those to keep an eye on and periodically check on with teachers (although the check has only been done once to my knowledge).
    I have 7 students (4 boys and 3 girls) out od a class of 22, who go out of their way to not try to learn, stop the learning of those that do. Over the past few months I have managed to get the 3 boys under manners (through detentions, various stages of reports, phonecalls home and telling parents exactly how they behave in my lesson and how little progress they are making). One boy has been removed from my class and put back into the lower ability set he came from (he was removed because he was verging on violence towards the teacher he had in Yr9). The girls on the other hand are nothing short of vile and the strategies I've used with the boys have not worked with them. 2 have been removed from my lesson to get them to complete work I have set in the HOD class (or her free). I'm not happy with this as I feel it underminds me, but the other girl (who has a 68% attendance record) is often not there and it allows me to teach the rest of the class. I have had comments from the other students such as "that's the best lesson I've ever had miss" and "can we do something like that again miss" whilst these 2 girls have been out, I even had a parent write in and say their son was so excited over a lesson she wanted to thank me! As lovely as it is it makes me feel sad that I cant give these kids these sorts of lessons when the Witches of Eastwick are in class.
    The 2 witches are going to have to return soon and I'm afraid things will revert to normal. I want some tips on how to manage this process. One of them comes screaming into lesson and will not settle (she is on medication but sometimes isnt given it etc etc), shouting about what a sh*t class it is, my other teacher was better, you are **** etc etc. (I have nowhere for the class to line up outside, so I can't manage the "coming into lesson" strategy I would usually employ). The moment I start teaching she begins by saying "I don't understand. This is rubbish. Your lessons are rubbish" etc. She constantly turns around and talks to the other girl who is sat right at the back of the class. My seating plan is extremely tight as I have to keep certain students away from others, plus SA/SA+ students close to me, so moving is not really a possibility. The other girl mutters and chunters about me to the others and when I challenge her (outside the classroom) she says I'm wrong. She also 'flounces' around during lessons despite my class rule of staying in seat unless given permission to move. I feel secure that it isnt my teaching and that the level of work is right for both of them.
    If I am being perfectly honest I do not like these girls, I struggle to be civil to them; I am never rude but I know they can sense I do not like them. I need some way of getting them on board without them or me losing face. In the past I have tried to reason with them after a lesson, to see what can make things better for us all, but they really dont give a toss.
    They are always complaining to SMT that I am a rubbish teacher and even the parents seem to think it is my fault not their girls. On a readmission interview one parent made comment that it was my lesson that upset her child, however she hasnt been in my lesson for 3 weeks!!
    Any advice would be greatly received esp as these kids are ALL (but one) under performing and not going to meet their end of year targets, therefore I'll be to blame! I am at my wits end and it's making me sick. All I get told is "we all have classes like this", which doesnt really help. Even my behaviour management books advice dont help :eek:(
     
  2. Can you give me some advice regarding my Yr10.4? Setting the scene: This is a year group where the dept (and the school) has had to divide and rule. There are a hard core of extremely badly behaved students who have no respect for authority, happy to disrupt the teaching and learning of others. Many of them are on a SMT "hit list" of those to keep an eye on and periodically check on with teachers (although the check has only been done once to my knowledge).
    I have 7 students (4 boys and 3 girls) out od a class of 22, who go out of their way to not try to learn, stop the learning of those that do. Over the past few months I have managed to get the 3 boys under manners (through detentions, various stages of reports, phonecalls home and telling parents exactly how they behave in my lesson and how little progress they are making). One boy has been removed from my class and put back into the lower ability set he came from (he was removed because he was verging on violence towards the teacher he had in Yr9). The girls on the other hand are nothing short of vile and the strategies I've used with the boys have not worked with them. 2 have been removed from my lesson to get them to complete work I have set in the HOD class (or her free). I'm not happy with this as I feel it underminds me, but the other girl (who has a 68% attendance record) is often not there and it allows me to teach the rest of the class. I have had comments from the other students such as "that's the best lesson I've ever had miss" and "can we do something like that again miss" whilst these 2 girls have been out, I even had a parent write in and say their son was so excited over a lesson she wanted to thank me! As lovely as it is it makes me feel sad that I cant give these kids these sorts of lessons when the Witches of Eastwick are in class.
    The 2 witches are going to have to return soon and I'm afraid things will revert to normal. I want some tips on how to manage this process. One of them comes screaming into lesson and will not settle (she is on medication but sometimes isnt given it etc etc), shouting about what a sh*t class it is, my other teacher was better, you are **** etc etc. (I have nowhere for the class to line up outside, so I can't manage the "coming into lesson" strategy I would usually employ). The moment I start teaching she begins by saying "I don't understand. This is rubbish. Your lessons are rubbish" etc. She constantly turns around and talks to the other girl who is sat right at the back of the class. My seating plan is extremely tight as I have to keep certain students away from others, plus SA/SA+ students close to me, so moving is not really a possibility. The other girl mutters and chunters about me to the others and when I challenge her (outside the classroom) she says I'm wrong. She also 'flounces' around during lessons despite my class rule of staying in seat unless given permission to move. I feel secure that it isnt my teaching and that the level of work is right for both of them.
    If I am being perfectly honest I do not like these girls, I struggle to be civil to them; I am never rude but I know they can sense I do not like them. I need some way of getting them on board without them or me losing face. In the past I have tried to reason with them after a lesson, to see what can make things better for us all, but they really dont give a toss.
    They are always complaining to SMT that I am a rubbish teacher and even the parents seem to think it is my fault not their girls. On a readmission interview one parent made comment that it was my lesson that upset her child, however she hasnt been in my lesson for 3 weeks!!
    Any advice would be greatly received esp as these kids are ALL (but one) under performing and not going to meet their end of year targets, therefore I'll be to blame! I am at my wits end and it's making me sick. All I get told is "we all have classes like this", which doesnt really help. Even my behaviour management books advice dont help :eek:(
     
  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hmm. My gut reaction is to say 'to Hell with them, then,' but I appreciate that won't put any candles on your cake, so I'll try to be a bit more constructive.
    1. Can you have at least one of these girls permanently moved out of the class into a similar lesson? Divide and conquer is a maxim for every teacher, and as you've pointed out, they are only powerful when they gang up. So if you can have one taken away into...wherever, who cares?.... then you'll have a better chance of dealing with the remnants.
    2. What about getting the HOY/ HOL to arrange some kind of permanent/ long term provision for them? It sounds like the school hasn't really given you anything structural in terms of help other than a holiday from them for a while. That's not treatment; that's a sticking plaster. Do you have an internal exclusion area/ quiet room/ cooler etc that she could be placed in for your lessons? Or failing that, the HOY should be able to come up with an alternative to her marching into your lessons like the Red Army and going nuclear.
    3. Your priority here is the majority, as it always must be- the majority of kids who want to behave and learn; the ones who want to come in and trample on your garden wilfully, intentionally, maliciously get, I'm afraid, less effort from me. They have deliberately placed themselves outside of normal conventions, so they must expect to be treated differently. Certainly don't worry too much about their targets- there's nothing you can do to make them learn if they don't want to, and if they act like this, you mustn't blame themselves. They are, after all, responsible for their own conduct. What you do about it is your responsibility.
    4. Following that utilitarian logic, I suggest that your immediate task is to contain rather than entice; these girls need to be put somewhere that they can't harm others. They also need consistent, regular, routine sanctions whenever they behave like this; so whenever they come in and start acting churlishly, get them out without hesitation to whatever removal zone you have. Issue detentions; escalate the detentions, and enlist line managers to do so. This is your right, not a sign of weakness. Of course they're going to enlist their parents. Who cares? You're in charge of the lessons, and you don't make the kids misbehave. If the kids don't want to play ball then take the ball away from them. Your classroom is too fragile a construct to allow it to be trampled by hooligans. Give them both barrels, as often as possible, and don't let anyone tell you that it's your fault.
    Of course, don't ever let them see your annoyance; they feed on it, and use it to justify being disruptive because you 'hate' them; that's the mentality of the playground. Rise above it and remember that they are unpleasant children with poor manners and uncertain futures; you are an adult and a professional. Who the Hell cares what they think? I mean, really?
    Perhaps once they've experienced consistent punitive measures, they may feel it's not worth being abusive to you and your space again. If I was an ar*e in a heater or cinema, I'd quite expect to be removed; so should they. You deserve much better.
    Good luck
    http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/
     
  4. Thank you so much Tom. You have really made me realise it is them and not me. You are right, if they mess up I should get rid and not try to contain it. I am sure I can get one of them isolated whilst the other is reintroduced to my class. It's so wearing and tbh it has made me think about re-evaluating my career path, which is a disappointment seeing as I came to teaching as a mature teacher with the thought of making a difference, even if only a little one. I'll let you know how it goes. Many thanks :eek:)
     
  5. bacardibreezer

    bacardibreezer New commenter


    Craftymiss - I too am going though avery similar problem, also with a Y10 class. I don't think there has been a lesson with them so far this year where I haven't finished feeling that today is the day I throw in the towel. Some of the parents I have spoken to are absolutely foul and have thrown some light on why their offspring are so objectionable, and of course the kids come back full of their own importance, telling their mates how ther parents 'sorted miss out'. Some of them are worse than ever.
    Today I spent over an hour at the end of the school day tracking down parents and making appointments for them to come and see me once again. Some will not bother to turn up, and those who do will insist that their sprog is perfect at home and not a problem for other teachers.
    I now find myself hoping that the core sods will truant more often. I've discovered that introducing a new seating plan and telling the kid they can either sit where they're told or get out results in them leaving the class.
    Result!
     
  6. At least I'm not alone in my suffering of **** Yr10s. I too feel like throwing in the towel at least 3 times a week and I dread the days when I have them. :eek:(
     

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