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Dear Tom - My first job in an inner city school. How do I get discipline right from lesson one?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by j_pink, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. j_pink

    j_pink New commenter

    Dear Tom,
    As the title suggests this is my first post in a National Challenge school that have been used to supply teachers for some time now. I will be taking over from the last (young, male) supply teacher from May onwards. I too have spent a few days recently on supply there, really making sure I assert my authority and discipline procedures just in case I teach them.
    The lower school have considerably poor 'talking over teacher' habits. Upper school can be rude and interrupt teachers constantly.
    Please can you give me any tips or advice for gaining their respect, or at least their attention from lesson one? How should I spend the first 'getting to know you' lesson with them?
  2. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi J
    Congratulations on the job; any new post takes a lot of effort to get somewhere with them. It will take time, so don't expect miracles. In fact, it can seem that it's getting worse, before it gets better. Here are my tried and tested strategies for the first day/ week...
    1. Be there on time, and ready. Sounds obvious, but you'd be amazed by how many teachers rush into the room after the class, bags bursting with resources. You show them that the space is your space.
    2. Have a seating plan. Have a seating plan. Have a seating plan. Did I mention the seating plan? Gets you the names, and puts your stamp on the class.
    3. Set your behaviour expectations out clearly. You can lecture them, give them rules to stick on a book, have a Powerpoint...anyway that conveys you think rules and discipline are essential to your teaching. Because they are. Don't assume they know what you want them to do. They do, but they'll pretend they don't :) And let them know exactly what to expect if they follow/ break your rules. Tell them you care very much about their education...so much that you'll get tough on anyone that interrupts learning.
    4. As they enter the room, stand in the door way, and greet them with eye contact- and no smile, except perhaps for a fractional one indicating politeness rather than warmth. You need them to see you as a bit strict, not a chum.
    5. Have work ready for them on the board, so they see that you're serious and organised.
    6. An old trick an old hand taught me was to set a detention on the first lesson if anyone broke a rule. I wouldn't advise that exactly, as it implies you're looking for bad behaviour, and it's unfair to do so, but certainly confront any challenge as soon as it arises- so if anyone breaks your rules on day one, you better set a sanction. And make sure you follow up if they mug you off :)
    7. Know the school behaviour policy in detail. Know the name of their form tutor and their head of year. Let them know that you;re part of a greater unit- the school- and that you won't be dealing with misbehaviour alone.
    8. Finally- don't smile. Seriously, this old chestnut is actually pretty sound. The only question children want answered about new teachers is this: are they strict or not? That's a rhetorical question for us! If they think you're soft, you'll struggle with them until the ends of time.
    Good luck

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