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Dear Tom

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by missb133, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. missb133

    missb133 New commenter

    Unfortunately we didn't have much time to go through personal issues at the behaviour management seminar last week. I am still struggling with holding my class together with a group of infant children who appear to be spoiling the rest. The little angel (yes he can be) with ODD has stamped on other children in the playground, kicked furniture around the classroom, kicked children and members of staff, climbed on tables, screamed at the top of his voice and swore 'f...er' repeatedly when he has not got his own way (This is all since we met last week)
    As for the adults, I think they are in revolt- my 'wanna be a teacher' LSA told another staff member that I am rubbish and he can teach better than me, I had given him a chance to show his 'stuff' and it wasn't good. The others stand around arms folded and having personal conversations. I am beginning to think I need to look for another job as the 1 and a bit TA support is given by the 2 members of staff I had asked not to be placed with me again- HELP!

     
  2. missb133

    missb133 New commenter

    Unfortunately we didn't have much time to go through personal issues at the behaviour management seminar last week. I am still struggling with holding my class together with a group of infant children who appear to be spoiling the rest. The little angel (yes he can be) with ODD has stamped on other children in the playground, kicked furniture around the classroom, kicked children and members of staff, climbed on tables, screamed at the top of his voice and swore 'f...er' repeatedly when he has not got his own way (This is all since we met last week)
    As for the adults, I think they are in revolt- my 'wanna be a teacher' LSA told another staff member that I am rubbish and he can teach better than me, I had given him a chance to show his 'stuff' and it wasn't good. The others stand around arms folded and having personal conversations. I am beginning to think I need to look for another job as the 1 and a bit TA support is given by the 2 members of staff I had asked not to be placed with me again- HELP!

     
  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Nice to hear from you again, and thanks for geting in touch.
    There seems to be at least two issues here: the child with ODD, and the attitude and support of the school.
    1. The child. Behaviour modification, firm rules, and working with the family would be my advice. First of all, make sure that every teacher and staff member that deals with this child is aware of the diagnosis, and is also aware that they act in ways designed to provoke. Keep in regular touch with the family so that you are all aware of current issues with the child.
    • They want to see you angry, so whatever you do try to remain calm, perhaps even impassive. Show them that their behaviour is disruptive but not emotionally damaging to you or others.
    • Have strict rules that the child knows about, and if they break those rules then apply sanctions without mercy, every single time, so that the child is aware of the boundaries. Try to make sure that your rules are the same as the rules at home. Be extremely clear about what behaviours you will sanction and reward for, and make sure that there are no areas for confusion about what is and isn't acceptable.
    • If they start to throw a tantrum, have them removed by one of your assistants immediately, to a designated quiet room where they are supervised but left alone, as long as it is safe. Discuss with your colleagues what you will do when the child decides to lash out, so that no one is surprised or looks uncertain.
    • Reward them for positive behaviours, but make sure that they are rewards that the child views as valuable, not some omni reward like sweets, unless it presses his buttons.
    I hold the view that children like this often present behaviours so extreme that it's ludicrous to expect a regular school to deal with them, and that they would often be more suited to specialist provision; classroom tranquility is fragile, and you know how easy it is to shatter. It's not your fault that the child is like this, so no one should be blaming you for it. You have my enormous sympathies for being expected to deal with this most difficult condition. Many children grow out of it, but that's no use to you right now.
    Dealing with this child is going to be time consuming and difficult, no matter how successful you are- that's the nature of it. Use your TAs as much as possible to neutralise and contain the child and his behaviour, and make sure that they are ALL singing from the same hymn sheet. If one is nice, then you look nasty and the whole thing falls apart.
    2. The Job, the support. Your support isn't supporting you. As the class teacher, you are the dominant adult there, so make sure that you give everyone in the room a job to do: perhaps assign one to one child, or another to equipment, or whatever you feel best. One of them should be designated as the escort if your ODD child kicks off. Make your expectations clear to them- if they stand around chatting then tell them you're not happy about it, or if you dislike confrontation, tell them what you DO want them to do. To some extent we have to work with the people (and the children!) we are given, and that's that. But, if after a while you still can't get any satisfaction from your assistant. ask your supervisor/ SENCO/ line manager what the chances of a change are. Some people are, of course, just a bit rubbish.
    As to leaving, I'd give it a bit of time: new starts are always difficult, and this might be the job you look back on fondly once you settle in. I certainly give it at least until the end of the year to really know what you think about it, once you start to get to know people. With any luck, even your TAs will have realised that they need to work with you, not against you.
    I wish you the very best of luck, and let me know how you get on.
    http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/
     
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    *getting*
     
  5. missb133

    missb133 New commenter

    Thanks for the suggestions, we have a few things in place- reward chart, extra praise, clear sanctions etc. Most people are following it, I will have a talk with the midday meal supervisors about the way they manage situations as I sense that they are somewhat intolerant of him.
    I have been in the school for a long time (most of my teaching career) I did leave for a while and missed it terribly was lucky to have been given the oportunity to come back. The problem with having a child like this in the class who does not display any physical disability/impairment is that he just looks like a naughty child (the other children don't understand why he has different rules to follow and is sanctioned in a different way, parents see their children getting hurt and can't see what is being done to safeguard their children). I am frustrated with being kicked and scratched, the safe handling technique that was demonstrated for me by my head still resulted in me being kicked, scatched and almost bitten yesterday. I am alsoworried about not being able to keep the other 29 children safe from harm.
    I know that teaching can be challenging, this situation is relentless, I feel that it is wearing me down. I have a child the same age and know that if my child was in a class with similar issues I would have withdrawn him by now.

     
  6. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Thanks for clarifying that; if it's as bad as that then I would understand you wanting to move on- no teacher should be put in the position of being struck, kicked and bitten. You didn't sign up to that. If this is happening to you on a regular basis then this child should be withdrawn from the mainstream, and the school should acknowledge this. Unfortunately in the classroom environment we often have to make utilitarian decisions for the greater good, because there simply aren't infinite resources to go round- every minute you spend placating and containing this child is a minute lost for twenty five others. Eventually that kind of equation is simply unjust for everyone else.
    If the school won't offer him alternative provision then they are letting you down as an employer by ignoring their duty of care to you (which incidentally, could be actionable), and they don't deserve to have you, and you should see what your alternatives are in other institutions. Why not drop John Howson on the careers forum a line to see what he suggests regarding careers?
    Good luck
    http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/
     
  7. What is the school p9licy on child safety? Surely they can't be telling other parents that it's OK for their little ones to be hurt by an out of control child.
     
  8. missb133

    missb133 New commenter

    Parents have been kept calm. I know that neither I nor my child's father would be. I don't know what has been said to them as due to being in class full time, I am not party to these conversations. I will check to see if we have a safeguarding policy and what it says.
     

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