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Dear Tom

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by islandme, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. I had a hideous last few lessons with my hardest year 8 class at the end of term. To make matters worse, I had no option to have my NQT observation with them - it was graded as inadequate because of behaviour, all my other observations have been Outstanding, but this obs fell flat on its face because they wouldn't stop talking, pestering each other, throwing paper around the room, getting out of their seats etc
    I am gutted. Even more so, I have realised that I need to go back to basics with this class and address their behaviour.
    The main problems are:
    The constant talking / laughing over me and calling out
    Sarcastic rude comments
    Minimal effort into work
    There are about 12 students in the room who disrupt the lesson and no clear ring leaders.
    I need try and make a fresh start to the term and address behaviour by re-establishing my expectations. I'm really wondering the best way to do this? I'm already going to re-do their seating plan, but need some more tips for my first lesson back with them.
    I can see now that I was not strict enough from the word go and know that with one term left it's not going to be easy to re-gain control. I'm 23 but look about 16, most of them are taller than me, so I don't have much natural authority.
    Please help
     
  2. I had a hideous last few lessons with my hardest year 8 class at the end of term. To make matters worse, I had no option to have my NQT observation with them - it was graded as inadequate because of behaviour, all my other observations have been Outstanding, but this obs fell flat on its face because they wouldn't stop talking, pestering each other, throwing paper around the room, getting out of their seats etc
    I am gutted. Even more so, I have realised that I need to go back to basics with this class and address their behaviour.
    The main problems are:
    The constant talking / laughing over me and calling out
    Sarcastic rude comments
    Minimal effort into work
    There are about 12 students in the room who disrupt the lesson and no clear ring leaders.
    I need try and make a fresh start to the term and address behaviour by re-establishing my expectations. I'm really wondering the best way to do this? I'm already going to re-do their seating plan, but need some more tips for my first lesson back with them.
    I can see now that I was not strict enough from the word go and know that with one term left it's not going to be easy to re-gain control. I'm 23 but look about 16, most of them are taller than me, so I don't have much natural authority.
    Please help
     
  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    No one is island, ho ho. Sorry to hear you had a tough time last term. But this is perfectly normal, and the problems you face are perfectly routine, so don't worry too much.
    Yes, you need to reboot the expectations in your class. Here's how:
    1. First lesson back is all about the behaviour. So, seating plan is a must- separate trouble makers as much as possible, and get the worst offenders right under your nose. Organise tables into rows so that interaction is discouraged until YOU want it to happen.
    2. Reiterate your rules. Don't negotiate them. Just explain that the learning hasn't been great because the behaviour hasn't been great, so you need to make a few things clear. Have a list of ten things that are required behaviours. Check out my resources On TES for a suggested sample. Get them to stick them in their books, write them down- anything to make sure they know exactly what you want.
    3. Plan lessons for poor behaviour. That means park the group work for a while, and focus on independent learning tasks that require them to work by themselves. If they;re a weak group keep the tasks short, and mix up the types of thing they need to do. Avoid having them move around. At the risk of being drummed out of the GTC (ha ha) you are perfectly free to give them simple, straightforward tasks involving book work, worksheets etc. Anything that doesn't require you to explain a lot, or that requires their participation in a dynamic way. This frees you up to...
    4. Manage behaviour. Make the lesson focus behaviour for a few weeks (unknown to them); if you set straightforward work, you can then monitor the class far more easily and efficiently. Stay at the front so you don't create blind spots of your attention where the weeds of insubordination can bloom.
    5. Anyone that breaks your rule gets a warning (if it's very very minor) or written down in your book. This book is very important; it's your detention list. TELL the kids when they've accrued a detention. They will kick off like HELL at first.
    6. Take detentions as soon as you can- that day is preferable. Don't let them work them off, and don;t slack off and let them go after five minutes. They sit there, in silence, and preferably doing some kind of simple and boring task. Yes, it's meant to be boring; the point is that you want to encourage them to want to NOT be there. Detentions aren't for cuddles and adventures. They're a punishment.
    7. Anyone that doesn't attend needs to be followed up on; escalate the sanction, involving line management where appropriate. The next sanction needs to e tougher, longer, harder, faster to discourage the next 'forgetting'.
    8. Keep the paperwork tight; keep track of who comes and who doesn't. Let them know you won't miss a thing.
    8. Repeat ad nauseum. This might take a while, I assure you. But it's how you get them onside. Once they start to behave respectably, you can practise a more varied lesson plan, but until things get better, keep it simple and structured- very structured. They need it, and YOU need it.
    Good luck, and let me know how you get on. You CAN do it- it just takes time.
    Tom
    PS Never mind how you look. It's how you ACT that counts. If you;re worried about how you look you might convey that to them in implicit helplessness, so walk tall. You are a teacher, dammit :)
    Read more from Tom here on his blog, or follow him.
     

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