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Dear Tom - Behaviour in Y4 Classroom

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Tom_Bennett, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Painful. But it sounds like you've made some excellent headway, so I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. Even your second year of teaching can see you painstakingly building up the relationships that will stay with you for your career- or at least as long as you have this class.
    You raise several points, so I'll take them in turn:
    1. The shouty parent and her charmless child. Let's be clear- if a parent wants to come into a school (which is a place of learning, not her personal pub) and have a pop at you for doing your best with her unruly son (which is your job), then the school would be perfectly within its rights to refuse her entry unless she agrees to a code of conduct. You don't mean she comes into your lessons, does she? Many schools bar parents for less.
    If she tries to dress you down in front of the child, then treat her behaviour as you would an unruly child- say, 'I'm sorry, but we can't have a discussion if it's going to degenerate into a shouting match,' and leave. Always have another member of staff with you to monitor and protect you. If this child's behaviour isn't amended then he'll become a behaviour leader in the class, and others will emulate his habits. So you're absolutely right to try to crack him- for his sake, and that of the class. He needs to learn the boundaries you're seting him, for the good of his future. Sometimes our jobs are somewhat thankless, aren't they? Still, that's why we get the big bucks...
    Keep doing what you're doing with him- it sounds like it's working, and simply needs more time for him to realise that, in the classroom, YOU are the law, not mum.
    2. The new system. Sounds like just another behaviour system of warnings to me, except it uses cards rather than verbal cues. I can't see the point of it, myself, and in fact I think that verbal, public admonitions, tactfully but firmly conveyed, have a bigger impact. But if that's the system you have, that's the system you have. It doesn't stop you surely from verbally indicating the card as you put it down, does it? 'Now Jimmy, that's an amber card, isn't it? You know what that means...' or something similar. At least then you reinforce the terror of the cards. To be honest it sounds a bit wet to me- what's wrong with simply saying, 'Do that again and you'll be having golden time in Alcatraz,' or similar?
    Also, while the threat of moving to another class may strike terror into some children's hearts, many kids would simply see that as a lark, not a punishment. He needs to know that if he misbehaves (gets a maroon card or whatever) then he'll lose time at break, or lunchtime, or have his lunch with you in the classroom or something similar. Sanctions need to chafe and bite, not tickle.
    3. Nothing wrong with teachers being a bit loud, IMO- it helps lend them presence. As long as you know when to bring the volume down, otherwise you become the shouty teacher. So just keep it varied, and try never to blow your stack in a manner that suggests your brain kettle is boiling.
    4. Here's an easy way to keep your cool with your tiny terror- he's in year 4, and he's not your kid. When you go home, he doesn't fret about you. If you blow your stack then you've allowed a child to matter more to you than he should. It's a job, and he's a student, not your godson. Try to detach from his behaviour, and observe it as if you were watching it on a documentary about oikish behaviour in schools, like Channel 4's Dispatches. Think, 'Gosh, that kid's turning blue!' or something, but don't let it sink in a millimetre more. Who cares? I mean, really?
    You'll make it- just don't let the *** get you down. For you, comrade, are a professional.
    Good luck
  2. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Ah, I see I have incurred the wrath of the triple asterisk fairy. I'd like to point out that the offending word was not unadjacent to 'burger', in case some of our more faint hearted readers were swooning onto their Ottomans.
  3. Dear Tom
    Thanks for you reply.
    1. No the mother does not come and speak to me directly unless at parent's evenings. My team leader and Head deal with her as I really wouldn't know how to as she is so bullish. The son definitely has developed a leader of the pack mentality but this is slowly being stamped out and the class are understanding that his behaviour is not clever. The frustrating thing is the mum has said that she supports me disciplining him but clearly doesn't!!
    2. I am not really sure how to implement the new strategy but want to do anything possible to stop this escalating into a formal complaint. If there are better strategies that you can recommend I will have a look at those too. I think I can pretty much try whatever I need to. I don't know whether to have another strategy for him again or to try a different one for the whole class. (They need keeping on thier toes anyway!) For the boy in question we have done a positive book, a sticker chart and weekly meetings with mum but so far nothing has changed the attitude.
    3. I fear I am becoming a shouty teacher which just isn't who I am as a teacher. I am working incredilbly hard on this though as it's not what I want in my classroom and I know that it means children will lose respect for me.
    4. You are spot on with not letting it sink in more than a millimetre. Life is too short for him to bother me this much.

  4. I was thinking of trying a weekly raffle where each child gets the chance to earn raffle tickets every day and then have a weekly draw on a Friday where the child can win a small reward like a pencil or something. Maybe this would be better to cut down on the negativity of warnings?
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Personally I wouldn't do this in a class with a child with such significant behaviour needs. What if he wins the prize, despite having been an absolute sod all week and a very good child doesn't? I honestly think it is a very unfair system, though some people use it.

    Maybe give points as opposed to tickets and the person with the most at the end of the week wins. All start from zero again on a Monday. that way the better behaved you are the more chance you have of a reward.

    Don't stress about the tricky one, concentrate on the rest. You have already begun to weaken his hold on the others. Keep up with the sternness for him and the strategies you have to discipline him. Add to that rewarding all those doing the right thing, including ignoring the little so and so's behaviour, and you will get there.

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