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Dear Tom

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by cupofteacher, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. cupofteacher

    cupofteacher New commenter

    I am currently on my second placement on my GTP (secondary drama), I have been here for 2 weeks and have been teaching for about 3 days, so am meeting most of my classes for the first time. I am using similar strategies for behaviour across all year groups (7-11) which are working well...apart from the year 7 classes I teach. They are very low ability, and I have created lessons and resources that I feel are accessible and interesting...On an observation today I got 'outstanding' for my preparation and resources. On average my observations grade me as good, and I have been complimented by quite a few members of staff both at my lead and second school.

    My main problem is with the year 7 groups. They are low ability, and behaviour problems tend to stem from the boys within the group. I have been used to dealing with small groups demonstrating poor behaviour at my previous school, but here it is the majority of the class. It is constant low level disruption, calling out, talking over me, squabbling, play fighting and general disrespect within the classroom not just to me, but also to each other.

    I have followed the school sanction policy, sending students out, trying to send out the message that whilst I am new, I am not a push over. however this seems to have had no effect, and I could have ended up with sending about 13 students out. By the end of today's lesson, none of my strategies were having an effect on the students, and whilst they were not being dangerous, hardly any learning took place in the lesson.

    Strategies I have used today:
    Following the sanction system, asking students to stand up if they are talking, counting down, using choice language (you are choosing to behave like that), making it clear that the behaviour was the problem, not the student. I also used praise to the students who were behaving, and modelling their behaviour.

    My mentor was in the room with me, and has offerred to teach them next week, however I would like the experience of learning how to deal with a group such as this, after all in my NQT year I won't have that safety net!!

    I am phoning parents tonight, to reinforce my expectations, but would appreciate any more advice.

  2. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Sorry for jumping in before Tom, but definitely take up your mentor's offer. You can only learn how to deal with pupils like these by watching and learning from experienced colleagues. You can't hope to come up with your own strategies for difficult classes like this in a vacuum.
    And remember, you're only, what, six months in to a 40 year career?! It sounds as if you're doing really well on so many fronts if you're getting outstanding grades for preparation, but you're only human, so don't expect to be have all the answers at such an early stage: no-one else does!
    Good luck.
  3. Also remember the obvious point that your mentor doesn't have the significant disadvantage of being new! If when you observe the class with your mentor they behave much better, remember it is certainly not all due to the mentor's superior techniques and teaching ability. A large chunk of the difference will simply be due to the mentor's already-established reputation and relationship with the kids. Obviously you can't have that yet because you're new. (I'm not saying, therefore give up trying until you've been there a few years! I'm just saying, try, but don't be too hard on yourself by having unreasonable expectations.)
  4. cupofteacher

    cupofteacher New commenter

    Thank you very much to everyone who has taken the time to reply, I really appreciate it!!

    After picking through my lesson plans again, one thing I think is also lacking on this placement is routines. I am pretty secure with them at my lead school, but I think one solid routine may assist in the low lever disruption. Having said that I also agree with other suggestions, and will certainly give them a try, especially following through on more meaningful sanctions.
    I will suggest to my mentor that maybe we team teach the next lesson, that way I can observe and try to implement some of his successful strategies.

    Thanks again, I am so glad that I haven't gone into teaching unqualified, and have been able to have this year to get things wrong, I think it's a real learning curve!
  5. 2 weeks is really early days. It sounds like you are doing really well and being really positive and constructive. You mention sanctions but what about rewards. I don't mean "prizes" but for some Year 7 boys a comment in a planner, a praise postcard home or a little certificate can be valued - if they've really earned it of course. Or maybe introducing some element of positive competition between groups or letting one group choose a drama game to finish the lesson if they've cooperated particularly well?
  6. No matter how experienced you are you'll always get things wrong, the key thing is to learn from the experience. Also assuming you haven't treated your students with utter contempt you shouldn't blame yourself for their poor behaviour - that's on them!


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