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Dear Tom Please help

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by eilisjean, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. I am at my wits end. I have a group of three boys in a small group (of 6) for Resource Teaching. They are making my life miserable. Well one in particular - I had them last year as well and though they weren't brilliant they weren't this bad. This one boy constantly arrives late, taking the other two "sheep" with him, is defiant because he wants to be, won't sit on his seat, tries to pick on some of the other students, would make nasty comments to both myself and others, makes a point of trying to open all the windows if its cold (close them if it is warm), (there is no way of locking them). He does absolutely nothing in class, talks across the room to his pal. He has only recently become this bad though he was never what you would describe well behaved. Nothing has happened either at home or at school to warrant this worsening in behaviour....I have tried everything...giving out to them, notes, detention, sending him to management nothing works I mean nothing....I devised a behaviour plan but it didn?t work as there was little or no support from HOY.
    I am at my wits end....he seems to go out of his way get at me....he does kick off with other people but I have him twice a day every day so I am on the front line the most. Today he has started walking outside my classroom and looking in when he should be in class.
    Help me please I am at the end of my tether. I keep thinking it is something I am doing wrong but I have a lot of kids who would have the same behavioural issues as this one and I get on very well with them in fact he is the only one I have trouble with. I have gone to management but I have to say they were not very helpful and I am afraid of causing too big a fuss.
    I feel physically sick at the thought of having to be in the same room as him.
  2. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi Ellis
    Sorry to take a while to get back to you, but half term comes to us all; really sorry to hear you're struggling with this lad. Here are my nutshell thoughts on what you've said, with some suggestions about how to get things back on track. In no particular order:
    • One thing has changed- he's older, and has learned a behaviour pattern that suits him. There doesn't have to be an enormous catalyst for this kind of change, at least not one that can be traced back to an obvious precedent.
    • I think you're right to focus on the one child- while it's possible you've got three hard cases of equal density, it would be more common that you had a leader and two henchmen. Cut off the head, and the body will fall.
    • The key for this boy is going to be, will always be, sanctions, applied fairly, consistently and with vigour and rigour. You say you've done detentions, etc. But I wonder how consistent you've been. Does he always get the same sanction when he does the same thing, or does he sometimes get let off with it? Not being consistent is as bad as never doing it, I promise you. He needs to know that your electric fence is ALWAYS on.
    • If he gets a sanction, and continues to misbehave, then what happens next needs to be an escalation of sanction: from a half hour detention, to an hour, to a Saturday....up to an d including exclusions. This process needs to be fluid, automatic and obvious to him. He needs to see that the more he swims against your tide of disapproval, the harder and thicker the tide becomes until it becomes untenable for him.
    • If you're not getting support, this is a big problem, because the last point only works when line management help to make it happen. So manage upwards; speak to the people responsible and ask them WHAT they advise next, WHAT they plan on doing, and WHEN. Take a note of what they say, and then if their word fails to match the world, call them out on it, politely. Ask them again- what happens next? You deserve support, and they have a duty to earn their wage packet. ALWAYS call people out when they don't do their jobs; its the only way a school works.
    • This boy may even be enjoying your discomfort, which may be obvious. So keep cool, don't lose your rag....but be definite: if he acts up, he gets sent out, or removed, or taken somewhere else. With no fuss, just the cool determination of the professional you are. He isn't personal- he's just another case on your file list- THAT'S the attitude you need to take, or he'll wear you away, and you deserve better.
    You can sort this situation out; it may take some time, but you can be the boss of this situation. You just need to reboot your expectations and rules a bit. You'll get there.
    Good luck
    Read more from Tom on his blog, on Twitter, or on the Behaviour forum


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