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Dear Tom - help with classroom management badly needed.

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

  1. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    Some really sound advice Bluebell...

    I particularly like this one... would never have thought of that... Brilliant!
  2. Controlling kids around site who you don't know is far more difficult than controlling kids in your class. Being disobeyed in public can do more to undermine you than being disobeyed in lessons, so I'd warn against doing anything that involves extra opportunities for confronting students you don't know.
  3. I feel your pain OP - Our school has a positive behaviour policy with very few sanctions if children do misbehave and the 'rewards' for good behaviour are rewards the older children are not interested in. QED the baviour policy doesn't work. I have had to develop strategies in my own classroom like table points or raffle tickets and keeping children in if they do not complete work or making whole class practice lining up/sitting quietly on carpet, etc... Now this does create problems with the odd complaint from parents by making the whole class line up, but I despair of these parents sometimes!!!!! Whilst there may be a handful of kids lining up well (and these always go first or are given stickers) if the whole line is too noisy then the whole lines stays in - if you get to more than 3 or 4 children being disruptive then you need to act on the whole, not the sum of the parts.
    Positive behaviour policies are fine but there do need to eb clear sanctions in place for those who do not toe the line.
  4. MrsChatelier

    MrsChatelier New commenter

    Ok, so you are probably sick of advice by now, but let's assume others will read this too! I worked for my NQT year (and several afterwards) in a school that sound like yours - it will get better!
    1. If they are behaving when SMT are present allowing observations to be good then all is not lost. This suggests to me that SMT have retained some level of control and that your teaching wil be perceived as good. This gives you somewhat more leverage with sanctions. If other NQTs are being critisised for too many detentions you can stand on your good observations as back up that your lessons are not the cause of the detentions.
    2. Parents - get them on side, some of them will be more helpful than you expect. In my experience a large number of parents at schools like this will be ex-pupils and respond surprisingly well to a call from Mrs So and So. Don't complain about the child's behaviour instead talk about how concerned/worried/surprised you are at their recent behaviour and how you are worried this will effect their achievement. Try to find a day the child was good and use that as a contrast. Tell kids you will ring home.
    3. Chasing detentions is exhausting but must be done so go for the ringleaders. Try not to get to the detention stage with others as you must always follow through.
    4. book lessons are not interesting but they will give you a breather. I was advised to do one singing and dancing lesson per group per week until I felt I had control. Try to time this to come after a lesson that is usually good (e.g. if they are better on Monday etc). Book lessons can include videos etc just no moving and no discussion. You should be free to walk the room and pick on lack of work/misbehaviour.

    Good luck, hopefully in a couple of months you'll be teaching mostly exciting lessons (though do remember that SMT and teacher trainers are telling you about the best not the average and no one is top notch every lesson every day and stays sane) and will be feeling more confident.
  5. Ray:
    You write: "She may well have been. I'm wondering how that helps her. She's asking for advice, not a philosophical debate about what was said by who, when, where and to what effect."
    Advice is not received in a vacuum. It is received in a context. Getting a handle on that context allows us to fine-tune the advice.
    "I'm too tired to get sidelined!" I don't think it is a sideline. When she was given advice, her initial reaction was: "Most of what you are saying contradicts what we've been told during teacher training, repeated by my mentor and SLT at my school." This shows that "what she's been told during training et al" is having a direct effect on what she does and thinks. Ergo it's pretty far from being just a philosophical sideline.

  6. Ray
    There is a broader issue here. This forum has lots of great advice (some of it from you); but it also has bad-tempered rants and exchanges. These revolve monotonously around the same contentions.
    1. It is believed by some (quite a few on this forum) that you and some others propagate the myth that "lessons which are well-planned and interactive + praise = poor behaviour not being a problem." This belief that you propagate this myth generates a great deal of ill-feeling (not least because of the consequences on teachers and pupils of this myth's being accepted, as Jennqt can testify).
    2. The reason why some people believe you propagate this myth is because they believe: a) that you are essentially sympathetic to what is generally taught by SLT and teacher training; b) that this myth is widely taught by SLT and teacher training.
    Now obviously, if 2a) and 2b) are true, then your detractors appear to have a point.
    So the question of whether 2a) and b) are true or not is what it all hinges on. Now on the basis of what you've written in the past I think we can assume 2a) is true.
    We turn to 2b). Now if 2b) is false, how will we expect you, who know about SLTs and teacher training, to react when someone's posts make it clear that his or her experience of SLT/teacher training has been that that aforementioned myth is propagated? We shall expect you, in the course of your advice, to say something like: "What's all this the SLT are telling you? Extrordinary! Doesn't sound like anything any SLT I know would say! Unbelievable that they're telling you that in teacher training! All the teacher trainers I know would never say that! Are you sure you heard them right?"
    However, if your reaction to those parts of people's accounts which make clear the defective instruction they've received from SLT/teacher training, is to seem very relaxed and unsurprised at them, and not the least bit inclined to ask any questions about them, then 2b) starts looking convincing.
    And if your reaction is to those parts of people's accounts is to seem not to have noticed them, then your assurance that 2b) is false doesn't seem worth much, because you don't seem sufficiently alert to perceive when and whether 2b) is false or not.
    An analogy may help. Say I had to take an English class who were writing an essay on Macbeth, and it became apparent their English teacher had told them that Shakespeare wrote Macbeth. I wouldn't show any surprise at this, I wouldn't show any shock, I'd hardly register it. Say, however, the evidence strongly suggested that the English teacher had taught them that Dickins wrote Macbeth. I would naturally evince some surprise. I might say "I can't believe your teacher told you that. You must have misheard him. Are you sure he said that?" etc. Now, it is true that my asking those questions won't, on its own, help the kids. Far better just to help them with the essay. However, human nature would mean I wouldn't be able to help showing some surprise. And if a parent observed a lesson where English teacher A became aware that English teacher B had taught the class Dickins wrote Macbeth, and if the parent saw English teacher A absolutely unmoved by this news, not seeming surprised in the slightest, I think the parent would question that English department's competence.
    Basically, I think you claim that most of the time 2b) is false. Your languid serenity when faced with individual examples of 2b)'s being true, undermines that claim. And/or, (in my opinion), a certain slowness on your part to perceive such examples, undermines that claim.
    Hence beliefs 1 and 2.
    Hence the hostility.
    Now obviously you can just ignore everything I've said and carry on as you are, but, to date, doing that doesn't seem to have prevented quite a lot of aggro cropping up too regularly on this forum! Of course it's possible to say well I don't give a monkey's about aggro on this forum, but surely responsible people will want to reduce it.

  7. Hi Jen,
    I'm sorry you are struggling - but I've been there and it DOES get easier. Bluebell offered some excellent suggestions, and here are a couple more:
    1) Phone home for kids that do good work - in a difficult class, you will then have them on side. Tell them (quietly) that you'd like to speak to someone at home because you are so impressed with their piece of work today, and ask who they'd like you to speak to. Those kids will then know that you DO follow through with sanctions and rewards, and will tell the others.
    2) Take care care of yourself! It's exhausting trying to deliver 'exciting' lessons back-to-back all day. Make sure that sections of each lesson are quiet, with the pupils working independently (especially at the beginning; another poster mentioned the importance of 'settling'), and that you have at least one lesson every day where you know that there are minimal props etc needed, to help you catch your breath. As another poster said, the more you have to faff with 'exciting' bits and pieces, the more opportunity for the kids to misbehave.
    Good luck - but do get some rest too. Have you got something relaxing planned for the weekend? It's more important that you keep well than that all the books are marked constantly.
  8. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Then they have - perhaps wilfully - misunderstood me. In which case the rest of your post is moot.

  9. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    I'm not sure it is moot Raymond. I think if you are creating an impression that you do not intend to then it might be worth rethinking (or at least looking at) how you are communicating that is leading to this misunderstanding.
    I don't hold any hostility towards Raymond at all. I might disagree with some of the things he posts (vigorously on occasions) but so what? It'd be a boring world if everyone agreed all the time. At least he has always been pleasant and polite towards me (unlike some) and it turns out the difference between our views on quite a lot of things isn't as huge as I thought anyway. At least he (unlike some) has offered some worthwhile advice which can be taken or left rather than merely trashing the views of others (which appears to be all some posters are capable of).
    I hope Raymond continues to post his (completely mad and wrong [​IMG]) views as it makes for interesting debate and a range of advice for Jennqt that she can look at and pick out what is useful from (my advice) whilst leaving the rest (all advice contradicting mine).
  10. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    I have never said the things others say I have said. Why is it my responsibility to have to think about how I have not said things I have not said?
    "Raymond Soltysek" has never been unpleasant or impolite to others. Can you quote me any examples where I have been impolite? Or even "vigorous"? As a named contributor to TES, I offer advice. That's' all I do. People may do with that advice what they wish.
    If you believe my views are "completely mad and wrong", you are entitled to that view. I couldn't care less. Jenn can take my advice or leave it.
    Yet again, posters wish to make a thread about me. That is very tiresome, especially when a new young teacher needs help.

  11. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Raymond- I think you have completely misread both the intent and the content of my post.
    You said people have misunderstood you. You can of course continue you to be misunderstood. I assume that you do not enjoy the hostility that appears to be coming from these misunderstandings. It therefore might be worth considering the possibility that the manner in which you are communicating is a contributing factor to this.
    Never said you have been impolite (or vigorous). I said that you have always been pleasant and polite towards me (unlike some) meaning that some other posters have not been polite towards me at all (I accept there was some abiguity there). I do not understood your objection to the word vigorous as I was describing myself rather than you.
    I put the smiley in to indicate that I was joking.
    I believe that is what I said about all the advice.
    that's the last time I stick up for you Raymond.
  12. "It is believed by some (quite a few on this forum) that you and some others propagate the myth that "lessons which are well-planned and interactive + praise = poor behaviour not being a problem."
    Ray, you reply: "Then they have - perhaps wilfully - misunderstood me. In which case the rest of your post is moot."

    "The rest of my post" consisted of an explanation of why people hold that belief. The fact that that belief is or isn't a misunderstanding can in no way of itself make that explanation moot.
    That's a purely logical point, Ray.
  13. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    I have indeed misread your post, bigkid. I apologise. I read the smiley wrong (although it is a "grrr" smiley rather than a smiley smiley).
    The comment about posters making the thread about me rather than the issue is not directed at you - it's directed at those who keep trying to draw me in to some kind of fruitless debate / conflict that is way off topic and doesn't help the OP. I used the wrong word when I said "misunderstood", since it's impossible to misunderstand something which hasn't been said in the first place: it's probably more accurate to say they have misrepresented me - hence my use of "wilfully". As for the hostility aimed at me - as a rather malapropistic pal of mind used to say, "snow off a duck's back..."
    Of course, there is no need for you to stick up for me, though I thank you for the effort.
  14. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    And I should worry about why people believe I said something I didn't say because...?
    Please tell me how this helps the OP?
  15. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    I always thought [​IMG] was cheeky devil rather than grrr.
  16. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Well, I must have misread that as well. Not doing too well today, am I?
  17. Ray:
    1."And I should worry about why people believe I said something I didn't say because...?"
    a) The short answer is, for the purpose alluded to in the final para of my lengthy post (post 79).
    b) The long answer involves saying that I think your question here is simplistic. The fact that you have never actually come on here and said "Hi my name's Ray and I spend my time propagating the idea that lessons which are well-planned and interactive + praise = poor behaviour not being a problem" does not, on its own, I'm afraid, settle any arguments. Even when a poster like you, or me, or anyone, explicitly denies something, that does not, necessarily, I'm afraid, settle any arguments. People make inferences. And to the extent that they have good evidence, they are fully entitled to make inferences.The point is this: that you strangely allow the evidence against you to be a heck of a lot stronger than it needs to be. I detail how you do this in post 79.

    2. "Please tell me how this helps the OP?" - Fair point. My excuses are:
    a) A large number of posts here have helped the OP - it's not as though my posts have prevented that;
    b) although this doesn't help the OP, it would help future OPs if this forum became better natured, and if people had, and felt able to have, more confidence and faith in each other.
  18. Interesting well planned lessons do not guarantee good behaviour in my opinion. I have taught the same carefully planned, (and potentially) fantastically interactive, differentiated lesson in 2 different schools. Been really organised with resources in both cases. Been equally careful with transition points. With very diferent outcomes.
    I conclude that there are different kinds of bad behaviour:
    • This is rubbish... it will be more interesting to swing on chair/chat/flick bits of rubber, behaviour.
    which is not the same as
    • The he/she is wet behind the ears, smelling the weakness, let's wind them up and have a laugh, behaviour. (oh and by the way... it is really funny that we have wasted all the effort that the teacher has made).
    I am struggling with the second kind with a new class...
    I think i am going to go with the keep it simple, and let's make it dull for the culprits approach. I have nothing to lose... and sanity to gain.

  19. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Of course they don't. They have to be executed well. If they are not taught in a well ordered atmosphere with clear expectations and appropriate praise and sanctions, then they will fail.
    However,exactly the same goes for "dull" lessons. They will be just as unsuccessful without due regard to the management of the class - and they will also be dull.
  20. ..this is the key though.
    You need to get this first! No-brainer.
    It must be easierto establish a well ordered atmosphere in very challenging classes with simple lessons. Where kids understand they can't get away with flouting the simple expectations.


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