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Dear Tom - help with classroom management badly needed.

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Jennqt, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. In some schools what teacher trainers say is true. I went to one of those schools myself, and I did my training in an outstanding school and a good school. And for experienced teachers it is generally true. And yes, a well planned lesson does help. But you can have a well planned all singing all dancing lesson, and a well planned "boring" lesson. As long as the little darlings learn something...
    It's telling that you say the kids behave when you are being observed... that shows that they think it is only worth behaving if there is somebody to be scared off in the room. You need to become that person. They're testing you, and you're giving them lots of rope. Dya mind if I ask... did you ever not have a member of staff in the room during your PGCE placements?
    Also, why not wheel out the interactive lessons when you're being observed... then if the kids pick up on it you can smile sweetly and mention something about the right attitude and behaviour for learning.
    Don't get disheartened, or think that it's a grand conspiracy to trick you. It's not. It's kids acting up, testing boundaries. On the whole they fear change and something new and different, and they are like dogs. They can smell fear.
    If it makes you feel any better I have to go in on Monday and attempt to kick ass and be a ***, knowing full well that I find it very, very difficult. And the minute they start behaving appropriately I'll revert to being nice again far too soon!
  2. Lying about the reality of behaviour is what got them out of the classroom. The thing you'll notice about the people telling you the truth here is that we are, overwhelmingly, classroom teachers.
  3. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    And you are absolutely right to believe that. Trust your gut instinct. Keep planning the interesting stuff, keep doing the lessons that you know in your heart are the best. Of course there are decisions you have to make that will affect how you go about teaching and learning - for example, you may have a very interactive lesson first thing on a Monday with a class, but have heads-down concentration after lunch on a Friday with the same class; but please, never ever plan to be "boring" - plan to be controlled.
    And the misbehaviour? Make sure you use the sanctions available to you every single time they are appropriate. You want to get a clear message across to your pupils: behave, and we will all go on a terrific adventure together; misbehave, and you WILL find yourself in detention, on report, kept behind and having to explain yourself to your parents when they are called up to the school.
    Those children in your classes who DO behave - and I suspect that, as usual, they are actually in the majority - deserve the best of you, and deserve the best teaching you can give them; those who don't behave need to know exactly what you expect, and know that if you don't get it, there will be consequences.
    There's a lot of anti-SMT and anti-teacher training griping going on here. Bear in mind that very often, such people are there not to get out of the classroom, but because they were very good in the classroom and therefore have something to share with others. Of course, there are good and bad managers, and good and bad teacher trainers, just as there are good and bad teachers.
  4. Hilarious. I'm so good I quit and now I spend my time telling other people how good I was.
    Not very convincing is it?
  5. Well since most of the teachers who post here have SMT's who a) fail to provide useful advice or help or b) fail to follow their own school procdures or c) blame individual teachers for what ought to be a whole school issue its hardly surprising there is a lot of SMT griping going on.
    If every SMT was any good then we wouldn't need a behaviour message board.
  6. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Senior managers and people like you are the reason so many new teachers burn out and leave the profession after a very short space of time.
    The notion that I am right wing is hilarious. Try posting a thread on opinion suggesting I am right wing and see what the response is... I dare you
    I think you and the people in the OP's SLT have forgotten how hard it is to establish yourself when you are new. Telling someone that if they make their lesson plan interesting, engaging and good enough the pupils will behave is counter-productive, demoralising, untrue nonsense. I have seen first hand on numerous occasions how much NQTs struggle when faced with that sort of advice from mentors and SLT (instead of proper support with behaviour) until some kind sould gives them some proper, useful advice on how to manage their classroom.
  7. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    I work in a training school. Nobody ever says what you have been told to NQTs. They expect more sanctions from NQTs and people have been criticised (and not finished their NQT year) for not setting sanctions and getting bogged down in shouting or 'giving another chance'.
    They don't expect every minute to be interactive, we may think a little bit of interactivity needs to be there and we do expect teachers to use appropriate planning for the group, age, time of day etc and that includes settlers and stirers. Until behaviour is settled we would say err on the side of settlers. BUT your lesson needs to be planned to the nth degree and you need to know what you are going to do before you do it. We often have to advise on improving transition - that is the movement between activities. Students and NQTs lose valuable seconds allowing classes to misbehave as they work out what they should be doing next. If your classes are too interesting then you won't be able to deliver a seamless lesson where you are totally organised and in charge of what you are doing.
    We also advise heavily on the use of routines for the start of the lesson. Do not try and do too many sparky starters - make them settlers that way you can establish that you will praise those getting down to work and in teh end the lesson wreckers will want some of that praise too.
    You may need to think about what is your definition of interesting and what do SLT/Teacher trainers mean. They may simply mean don't have them making notes out of a book for the whole lesson. And yes that still goes on.
  8. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    In your school perhaps. However I have seen the results of people being told exactly that first hand.
    Your schools sounds like a good school. Sadly there are too many schools that aren't.
  9. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Great comment. Your school sounds like an excellent place for new teachers to learn the craft. And your post could be the template for schools to model their training programs. NQTs need simple approaches to each lesson/ class. Not unlike driving a car, at first all the gears, pedals, and coordinated movements combine to create a blinding fog of confusion. Any training scheme that tries to get the new recruit doing dozens of complex things at once is doomed to fail, and drive the trainee mad with self-doubt and anxiety. And any advice that suggests a new teacher should build complex, nurturing personalised relationships from day 1 is asking too much, too soon.
  10. Wow - a lot of posts from people not agreeing with each other.
    Except that almost everyone agrees that I should issue a sanction (detention) whenever a student deserves it, and make sure it is followed up. This is something I will try to do a lot more from next week.
    I'd like to ask people who think I should carry on as I am, James and Raymond. How long will it take before things start getting better? Things are getting worse at the moment, classes are behaving less well each week, I'm getting more and more tired with the planning. I'm hoping that guaranteeing detentions will improve things. If not, I can't see me lasting much more than a year in this job. James and Raymond, you're both experienced teachers who students respect. How long did it take you to feel like you were doing a good job with behaviour management? I feel like I've lost the respect of my classes, how long does it take to win them over with interesting, relevent lessons? How long did it take you, as I can't see a light at the end of the tunnel at the moment.
  11. Jen, are you being too hard on yourself? Partly, it's time and experience ... you become accepted, you become more proficient in your classroom management, things begin to fall into place. All the teachers you see in your school have been new once themselves, don't think you're less able than them, don't think you won't get there too. I don't say "carry on as you are", I suggest you listen to the advice you're getting in your school, and act on it. By all means, be fair and consistent in the classroom, use the sanctions as well as the rewards ... follow up with your HOD, follow up with the year heads for the groups that are causing you most difficulties, seek help from other senior staff ... I'd be surprised if they weren't all well disposed to helping you. Things can only get better for you, Don't become a jaundiced negative failure interested in "punishing" pupils like some of the posters here.
  12. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Things already have been better, Jenn - remember, you said yourself that things went well in your training placements.
    As for how long it will take - that will depend on you deciding what kind of classroom you want,what sort of relationships you want with the children and what sort of techniques you're going to commit to to achieve that. Believe it or not, behaviour management in your classroom really is in your control - you are powerful, you can set the agenda if you believe in yourself.
  13. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    This I completely agree with.
  14. James,
    thanks for your kind words.
    I think you are being too kind on the senior teachers in my school, and my mentor. I've followed their advice already, which is what you say to do, ie planned interactive and interesting lessons, tried my best to engage the students, been as polite and reasonable as I can, listened to the students, yet I have all the problems with classroom management I explained in my first post. It wearing me down and I'm not sure I can take much more. Their advice, what they suggest hasn't worked. Things are getting worse for me.
    What do you think I should do? All the things I've been told to do I described in my first post, I've tried to build positive relationships with the students, they have thrown everything I've tried back in my face. I don't want to deliver lessons that I don't think they'd find fun or exciting, thats not what I went into teaching for. I fear I have to try this because nothing else has worked.
    What exactly would you do that I've missed? Where do you think I'm going wrong?
  15. Thanks Raymond and bigkid. 2 posts that werent there when I replied to James.
    After the first week in my first school as a qualified teacher nothing was like it was during training.
    I need to start taking control, giving detentions every time a student does something that i know they shouldn't. Follow every detention up. Get help from others in my department, get teachers to keep students in for me to collect.
    I was dreading next Monday, now I'm nervous but wanting to start again, prepared to not put up with the same **** as before. Looking forward to the challenges and the new, harder regime.
    Wish me luck I will need it.
  16. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Very common in new teachers. In my opinion she probably is.
    I completely agree.
    Provided it is good advice that will work for you.
    Good advice
    You might well find yourself constantly surprised in some schools then. How much help and support you are likely to get from the powers that be varies wildly from school to school as does how people who need/request such support.
    I sincerely hope this is the case.
    what a shame you had to finish what had been an unusually sensible, competent post with a return to your usual insufferably smug insults.
    Your presumption in judging other posters on this thread that you don't even know is staggering.
    Jen- I sincerely hope things work out for you and I hope you persevere. you sound like the kind of committed, keen teacher the profession needs. Just make sure you don't burn yourself out.

  17. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Jen - you seem to keep on confusing the planning of good learning with the execution of poor behaviour management: come on now, separate the two. Your lessons aren't going wrong because they are interactive, engaging lessons.
    I think the message has been absolutely clear. While some say plan "boring" lessons, others - like myself - say carry on planning the interactive lessons your management support. However, EVERYONE says concentrate on establishing your authority in the class by working sanctions fairly, assertively and consistently so that you can go on to build positive relationships with your pupils.
  18. Not really. I know things aren't working out at the moment because I haven't asserted my authority in the classroom. I realise this now. The people in my school haven't explicitly made this point. I think they assumed it was obvious and I missed it. My fault.
    I noticed that James was the only person who hadn't given his advice on what I should do, I was hoping for more ideas from him. I hope this hasn't offended anyone, but the more ideas coming forward the more chance I can use them.
    Again, thanks for all your help. Im looking forward to Monday and having a go at taking charge of my classroom.
  19. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Actually, you can get too many ideas - and as you've seen here, sometimes they can be contradictory, and leave your head in a spin!
    You've decided that establishing those expectations and being more assertive is what you need to do: good decision. Now go for it!
  20. Can you please explain what the difference is between using sanctions as described above and being a jaundiced negative failure interested in 'punishing' pupils?

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