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Dear Tom - improving relationships with classes

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by msloops, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. Hello Tom

    I am half way through my NQT year, just about to have my 2nd assessment, and they're going to say I am making insufficient progress. The main reason for this is apparently the relationships I've formed with my classes. Students on the whole do not respect me and treat me like a teacher: Some question me and argue when I give instructions, others are downright rude, and it often takes me a while to get kids listening while I'm talking to them.
    Some students in some classes try to wind me up. And I have had some complaints from 'good' kids in the class and their parents :-(

    I thought this was all within the realms of normalcy for new teachers until I was told that I'm better off finding a job elsewhere before I fail my NQT. The attitude of those in charge at my school is that it is now too late for me to improve relationships with the students in my class and get them to respect me; that I should give up and quit my job before I fail and that there's not much they or I can do to change it now...

    I don't want to quit, I don't want to let the nasty rude children win and get rid of me, and I am willing to put as much hard work in as it takes to turn things around. There is nothing that would bring me greater pleasure than proving these people wrong. However it is pretty heartbreaking to think that good kids who want to learn are suffering by being in my lessons (which is another line the school are using to try to guilt me into going.)

    Are the school right? Is it really an impossible feat? Or are there things I can still try this late in the day to work on turning around these relationships and getting the kids to see me as someone they should respect and listen to?

    Thank you
     
  2. My paragraphs disappeared. Sorry.
     
  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi Ms Loops
    Sorry to hear about this situation. It sounds like they've given up on you, or have given the impression of this. Which is interesting, because its a school's responsibility to show that they have provided you with the best possible learning environment for YOU, because this year is still a training year for you. Isn't it interesting how, when kids under-perform, head's turn to scrutinise the teacher with accusing eyes, but when NQTs run into hot water, the school starts wagging its fingers when it should be forming the mea culpa?
    What's also interesting is that they seem to be trying to get you to go of your own accord. The benefit this has (for them) is that they then don't have to justify why you haven't passed your NQT year; they simply shrug their shoulders and say, 'Gee, she split.' But if you stay it becomes a bit more problematic for them, because then they have to evidence the kind of support they've been giving you, involving the LEA in a consultative role, etc. Perhaps this is why they're putting the pressure on you...perhaps, perhaps. Impossible for me to say, but worth considering.
    Nothing is impossible in this context: although you may not be able to get these classes eating out of your hand before nightfall, you;re not supposed to- what you have to display are the key teacher standards (available online, and changing as we speak), and that you're doing all the right things to improve matters.
    It isn't important that all your kids aren't behaving- what are you putting in place to resolve it? So you got a complaint or two. Please believe me when I say that some of the best teachers I know were the recipients of the odd complaint at first. Kids hate change, and they know that if they complain then sometimes the school, in an act of sycophancy and wetness, will sympathise with their complaint.
    New teachers have it hard in the classroom- an eternal truism. Sometimes kids take a dislike to the new teacher; sometimes they adopt a pack mentality, and decide to 'oust' the teacher. Sometimes they just do it for fun. By the time they've grown up a bit and realised what a horrible, foul thing it it, it's too late for the teacher who's moved on.
    If you do decide to stick it out then try the following:
    1. Maintain all your routines. Eventually if you're consistent they'll realise that you aren't going to bend. Keep up with detentions and phone calls home. With the ruder kids, this will make them dislike you. Boo-hoo.
    2. Praise when deserved- make it pointed, focused and genuine. Don't gush. But show them that you can be a source of self esteem.
    3. Keep your hat on. If you blow your stack at them, or call them useless, stupid, failures, horrible etc, then they'll simply round on you. Even if you feel like spannering them, keep a calm, cool exterior.
    4. Tell your line management that you are going to pass your year- let them know that you're not going to quit. That way they'll have to show that they;re supporting you.
    5. Offer to observe some other teachers; have them observe you (and make it ones you like and respect, not the ones they send you), so that you can evidence things you are doing to improve.
    6. Most importantly- follow the school policy as closely as you can. If everything you do is in accordance with their guidelines and it still isn't working, then you can absolve yourself of blame, and they'll have a damned hard time justifying failing you.
    7. Keep lots of evidence yourself of what you;re doing to improve, conversations you've had, formal meetings with line managers, etc. That way if it does go to the wire, you can provide evidence of your own to back up why you should pass. Let them know you're doing this, so they know you're not to be messed with.
    It's not an easy task, and maybe no one would blame you if you walked the plank. But I admire your grit, and I think that there are still things you can do to make this situation a successful one.
    Good luck.
    http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/
     
  4. Thanks very much Tom - very helpful!
     

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