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Dear Tom, When to 'overlook' bad behaviour

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Trapin1, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Trapin1

    Trapin1 New commenter

    I am an NQT (albeit a very very mature one) and previously a TA for 7 yearsin year 6 before qualifying. I am currently teaching a year 5/6 class in an area of high socio-economic deprivation (aka rough for want of a better term). My class are lovely apart from 2 year 6 boys whose behaviour is very challenging. Feedback from the head and other staff since I took over the class is that they are better for me than the previous teacher and we do have some days that pass without too much of a hiccup. Other days, however, it can be bedlam. I've been called a D******d, a supply teacher has been told to F-off and these boys regularly call out, sometimes answers, sometimes inappropriate stuff. My response it to 'hit them where it hurts' - stopping them playing football at break and dinner time. This occurs if they get three ticks after their name. The problem is that if I applied this to the letter and gave them a tick every time they did it, they would 'kick off' big style and walk out, usually wiping pencil pots off the table as they go. Consequently I sometimes choose to 'overlook' their behaviour concentrating instead on finding positives. The year 3/4 teacher, however, maintains they weren't like this in her class and that she wouldn't tolerate it. I find it hard to believe (her current class are the worst in the school) and am beginning to feel that my classroom management is being questioned. The head agrees with me that these boys need careful management otherwise it would become completely intolerable and that I would just have a full-scale war on my hands which would then affect all the other children in my class and do little for my stress levels. There is an agreement in our school that the first port of call for children misbehaving is to send them with their work to the teacher in the class below. I'm considering applying sanctions rigorously and letting the year 3/4 teacher have them (everyday). What do you think? Any advice gratgefully received.
     
  2. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    I think my gut reaction is NEVER to ignore bad behaviour. That doesn't mean you ALWAYS have to issue a punishment or a sanction - but to let them know you've spotted something amiss is good practice.
    I like your sensible and flexible approach, and you certainly seem to be hitting the where it hurts. But these children have perhaps got into bad habits, and need to be coached to break that in a variety of ways. You are right to find a place for positives in your approach - well done.
    And don't believe a teacher who says "they weren't like that for me".
     
  3. Trapin1

    Trapin1 New commenter

    Thank you, Raymond........I do indeed rebuke the bad behaviour but don't always give the sanction - I'd just be making a rod for my own back. Perhaps, as you've suggested, I should just try tightening up somewhat to rein them back in, although these 2 are never going to be angels!
     
  4. Cervinia

    Cervinia Occasional commenter

    It's the natural progression for children in year 6 to behave worse than they did in younger years.

    Perhaps the Y34 teacher ought to spend more time looking at their own (and current) class's behaviour, if as you say they are the worst behaved in school.
     
  5. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    The fact that most of your class are lovely for you speaks volumes for the quality of what you do already; so I'd be at least a bit proud of how hard I'd come if I were you. Most NQTs have a hell of a time in their first year so you are by no means alone.
    That just leaves your terrible team. The god news is that, as it seems localised to these two, you can at least focus your efforts on them. The reason that this is so important is that if you don't crack them, then they'll become role models for the others, who will eventually look at them and think, 'Well, if they're getting away with it...so can I.'
    There is definitely a time and place to tacitly ignore some low level behaviour: for example, you might overlook a bit of chair swinging IF bringing attention to it would create greater disturbance than the event itself. But it always contains seeds of potential trouble, because by ignoring a behaviour you also tacitly approve of it, and that can cause a damaging landslide of disobedience, as students start to realise that rules only apply SOMETIMES.
    And that is the key concept here: you need to appear consistent. If you apply a rule one day, but not the next, then all that we teach the children is that rules aren't really rules, more like suggestions. And why would they follow a suggestion if they don't feel like it?
    My second main point is this: you say that if you applied the sanctions rigorously then they would 'really kick off.' I sympathise: sometimes it seems like it's best to avoid World War 3 than to provoke it. But is that alternative any worse than what you're experiencing right now? In my experience, tackling kids like these head on is always tough, but if you do it a few times then you will make head way with them. If you don't...you'll be dealing with the same problems forever. Seriously, it'll be like groundhog day. My question to you is not 'What will it cost you to tackle this?' but 'What will it cost you NOT to do it?'
    Apply sanctions to these children. So they get upset and knock a few paint pots? Then apply more sanctions. Let them know that your room has rules and that everyone in that room is important, not just them and their selfish whims. Believe me, children actually appreciate and respect you more if you show them that you care enough about them to keep order, so that they can learn. So that everyone can learn.
    By all means, find positives, because that's also very important. But you'll never get them in line by only focussing on the positive; because they're giving you too many negatives to ignore.
    Good luck.
    http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/
     
  6. I just came across this, I'd be interested to hear how you got on.
    :)
     

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