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Dearf Tom - Aaagh! New class

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by sulas, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Dear Tom
    Have been in my school since last
    September. Last year tricky year 6 class this year Very difficult year 4
    - told I was moved because of my excellent behaviour management! Last
    year interim head - this year new head. Last year we had - as have many
    schools - a behaviour policy which included sending chn to other
    teachers for 5 mins time out. This year been told not to do this -
    nothing has been put in to replace this practice. My class is
    underachieving according to their year 3 data. I have already been told I
    need to improve 'pace'. However, i have a couple of chn who are not
    responding to my strategies, i am not allowed to send them to
    colleagues. Today at the end of my tether I sent one child ( I can only
    describe his behaviour today as off the wall - nothing had any impact)
    to the head with a note saying that his behaviour was such that no one
    was able to do anything constructive. 2 mins later he was back with head
    who told him to say sorry. then head left!!
    I have an observation
    in a weeks time and I know i will be pulled up on pace and not meeting
    learning objectives. How do you get pace when there is constant bad
    this is not just one chd but 4 or 5 altho there were 2 that were really bad today. Any ideas?? Please?
    am not an NQT but a very experienced teacher who was very close to
    tears today when chd was just sent back - that has never happened to me
    We are a school in cause for concern - not sure if that information makes any difference.
  2. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    When I was in infant school the naughty children were sent to stand and look at the wall at the back of the classroom. I know your kids are much older but you might try the theory... Can you set up one desk (or space on a work top) at the back of the room which faces the wall? (you might need two or three separate spaces). Then if a child misbehaves send them to sit away from the others facing the wall until they can behave well and then move them back; to begin with give them a time for timeout... 10 mins, if you can behave well you rejoin the class, if not another 10 mins). If they have to be moved there during a lesson they automatically lose 5 mins of break time, if anyone speaks to them, or even turns to watch them, while they are at the back desk they also lose 5 mins of break time. Tell the rest of the class that if they encourage someone to behave badly by giving them attention they are contributing to the poor behaviour and wasting learning time.

    Most kids who mess about are doing it for the audience, remove the audience and they'll stop. Keep a record of any time a kid gets moved and inform them that a phone call home will be made on Friday afternoon to inform them of the child's poor behaviour and how many times they were moved that week. I know some parent's aren't very supportive but they soon get fed up with calls home from school, at which point you might ask them to support you by confiscating the playstation etc for a period of time during the weekend. Most kids would be horrified at their behaviour impacting on their home life in that way and it might just be a good wake up call for them.

    Another idea might be to set the most disruptive students targets to achieve and grade them at the close of each part of the day, before break, before lunch before end of school etc... firstly they will automatically lose a little bit of their 'free' time in order for them to have the target card marked but they can have sanctions and rewards for how well they do. I've done this with Y7s. I had targets like 'listen quietly to all instructions', 'keep hands and feet in the right places away from others', 'attempt all tasks set'... etc, you can be pupil specific with the targets. Alternately you could simply set one score for the work they produce and one for their behaviour. Scores could be out of five for each target for each part of the day... then set them a realistic target score for the day. If they fail to achieve it they lose break time or have to do jobs around the classroom after the lesson; picking up litter or tidying chairs. This gives you a chance to talk to them away from the rest of the class and get to know them while they do jobs... and gives you a chance to praise them away from the group. Lots of kids with self esteem problems don't actually know what to do with praise in front of others and will react badly.
    If they score well you could send a note home with them to tell their parents how well they are doing (phone too as some kids won't bother to give it to parents) If you have a reward system for the rest of the class, like the marbles in the jar to earn 'play' time their reward could be a marble in the jar. Each week the target score should go up a little until they are achieving a perfect score.
    Hope it helps.
  3. Thanks Zadok for you excellent advice. I have used these strategies numerous times before. However, this is an entirely different situation. This particular chd ( I tried your advise the afternoon I wrote my post) simply jumps on his chair and shouts across the classroom - what he doesn't do is sit quietly and do his 'time out'. he has his audience which he relishes and it is simply not possible in this situation to continue with the lesson. No one can concentrate -including me.
    I think i might have had a mini break through today - here's hoping!
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi Sulas
    Hmm. Interesting 'you've done so well we're going to punish you' angle.Dreadfully sympathetic to your plight, so let me make two general observations:
    1. The idea that children can't be removed from a classroom if they're enormously disruptive is so contrary to the way behaviour should be managed as to appear wilfully disruptive, as if Satan was suddenly in charge of things. Seriously I can't believe how bone-headed, unprofessional and simply unsupportive some schools can be when it comes to providing teachers with a basic teaching environment and children with a safe learning environment. These colleagues of yours should be ashamed of themselves for essentially leaving you out to dry. What on earth are they doing with their time? You cannot be expected to keep children in a room with others when a minority aren't following your instructions. It's like a society with laws but no sanctions or prisons. Crazy. May I say, without a trace of guilt, that I think I'm beginning to understand why the school might be a 'cause for concern'. It's being run by jellyfish.
    2. OK, rant over. That doesn't help you, although ti might be good to hear that this isn't your fault, but instead is indicative of an enormously unreasonable system that expects you to work miracles. So how do you work them?
    I suggest that you find a sympathetic colleague and make a pact to take each other's children in the event of a withdrawal being required, and to Hell with the ruling. Seriously- the Head needs to find out that this is an absolutely necessary part of teaching at times. Ask him to justify his policy. Better still, ask HIM to demonstrate or at least describe what he would do in such situations.
    I can feel myself getting angry for you again.
    Then try to do what he says, seeing as how he appears to have all the answers. You simply must park children at times, even if it's just to let them calm down, or to preserve the inegrity of the lesson. The other way you try to improve the situation is to apply every other sanction you DO have instead (bearing in mind that one of your strategies has been hobbled by your rather dim line management)- detentions, missed treats, loss of Gold. time- whatever you have. Call parents, get them in, put the kids on a behaviour report, whatever your school does do. It must have some sanctions surely? You can go far with these, although without the ability to remove, you'll be limping a bit.
    If you get clobbered in an ob because of poor behaviour, you can turn the feedback session into an interrogation, where you demand to know what should be done instead. This is rotting your whole class behaviour management- once one gets away with it, others will follow, which you are experiencing, as they realise that there's sport afoot.
    Try this. If you have a strong will, persistence and confidence, you may see an improvement over time despite the school's policy rather than because of it.
    But if I were you, I would be considering my position. Any school that treats teachers- and children in such a cavalier manner doesn't deserve to have any.
    Good luck
    Read more from Tom here on his personal blog, or follow him on Twitter here.

  5. Thank you so much for you reply Tom. I really appreciate your support.
    When i asked the head what she wouls like me do do instead of sending the child out she told me she would leave me to use my professional judgement! We are apparently supposed to be using a positive approach - which I am in full agree ment with but sometimes it simply doesn't work and then you need something else to show that the behaviour is unacceptable.
    Have now made agreement with a colleague and simply keep it quiet as long as possible!
    am already looking around for another job - trouble is although i have only been there a short time i love the school and my colleagues.

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