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Desperate Plea for Help

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by seska, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. I've never been the best behaviour manager. I've been on courses and read the books, but somehow in the classroom it doesn't come easily to me. I really need some advice please, and feel too ashamed and embarrassed to talk to anyone at school. I feel I should have this sorted by now after teaching for 5 years.

    What I struggle with is when no-one in the class is listening to me. I feel so helpless. The second I address one pupil, who will stop talking, someone else starts up, or I get "but he's talking too" and so on. I can't get around all 25 pupils individually to ask them to be quiet.

    I just feel so lost. I follows the school's behaviour management policy, but somehow, I think I'm doing it wrong. If I exit pupils after their series of warnings, I get challenged about why. No one else gets challenged. I don't exit *****-nilly, and it's almost always pupils who are exited regularly elsewhere in school.

    My year 8s at the moment are the hardest class. A number of the boys are in a gang together outside school and play up for each others' approval. Then there are boys who want to be liked by the gang and they play up. I've hardly been able to teach them anything because of the appalling behaviour. Yet if someone else walks in the room, they sit down, shut up and I look like a fool.

    My school's idea of support is meetings and observations, none of which do anything other than make me feel like a failure.

    Please help me.
     
  2. I've never been the best behaviour manager. I've been on courses and read the books, but somehow in the classroom it doesn't come easily to me. I really need some advice please, and feel too ashamed and embarrassed to talk to anyone at school. I feel I should have this sorted by now after teaching for 5 years.

    What I struggle with is when no-one in the class is listening to me. I feel so helpless. The second I address one pupil, who will stop talking, someone else starts up, or I get "but he's talking too" and so on. I can't get around all 25 pupils individually to ask them to be quiet.

    I just feel so lost. I follows the school's behaviour management policy, but somehow, I think I'm doing it wrong. If I exit pupils after their series of warnings, I get challenged about why. No one else gets challenged. I don't exit *****-nilly, and it's almost always pupils who are exited regularly elsewhere in school.

    My year 8s at the moment are the hardest class. A number of the boys are in a gang together outside school and play up for each others' approval. Then there are boys who want to be liked by the gang and they play up. I've hardly been able to teach them anything because of the appalling behaviour. Yet if someone else walks in the room, they sit down, shut up and I look like a fool.

    My school's idea of support is meetings and observations, none of which do anything other than make me feel like a failure.

    Please help me.
     
  3. Poor attiude behaviour is a rsult of many issues within and beynd your control.
    My main questions are:
    Are your lessons engaging and challenging?
    Good strong, well planned lessons with massive expectations, requirement for outcomes from pupils and a pace and challenege to stimulate learning will reduce SOME of your issues.
    Half of the lessons I have observed have been dry, boring, low challenege, no requirment for pupils to take responsibility for what they present at the end of the lesson..
    Have you looked into whether pupils would want to learn in the current environment?
    For me, behaviour management is proactive rather than reactive and sure, some kids are still fools but far less than if I deliver a dull lesson with minimal challenge, expectation and verbal praise.
    When I say engaging, i do NOT mean a 'fun lesson' away from the core subject where pupils are having to be entertained rather than educated and certainly dont buy behaviour IMO (Ie treats and sweets)
    I personally feel its about finding your style, not copying what people suggest on a course as its a fine balance for YOUR class, YOUR personality, YOUR subject, YOUR school.
    I would also never get into a situation of an argument with pupils where you ask them questions or justify your answers.

     
  4. My lessons probably have dried up a bit if I'm honest, especially for this year 8 group.


    As far as the territory goes, it's a difficult one. I used to have my own classroom, but don't any more. I teach here, there and everywhere now and so have no control over displays or layout. Half the time I'm late too, which drives me crazy as I know how much of a difference being there and ready for them makes. I'm not late out of choice, but having to clear up one lesson and head over to some far-flung corner of the school for the next lesson. By the time I get there, they're already heading for loopy.


    Fresh start in January though and I'll be putting suggested measures into place.


    Thank you.
     
  5. Sorry to hear about this Y8 class, most Y8 classes are the same unfortunately.
    Is the class mixed ability or set in ability?
    How about you draw up a contract with the class, this should contain some of your rules (about 5) and some of their suggestions for rules (about 2).
    At the start of next lesson give everyone a slip of paper and tell them to write down three rules which they think they would benefit from. This should be anonymous. Remind them that these can be rules for YOU as well as them. (e.g. - to return work as quick as possible).
    Of course, you may get some silly suggestions! The rules which tend to crop up the most should be put together along with your rules.
    Then you could type this up and give each student a print out of this contract. They can then stick this in their exercise book and sign at the bottom to say they agree with these rules.
    The classroom thing drives me crazy as well, I'm late for nearly every lesson. However, this is usually because the teacher in the room has not finished their lesson on time!
    Hope this helps, it worked for me.
     
  6. It's a low-ish ability group: set 4 of 6. They're working at around level 3 or 4 (English), all EAL. Mostly boys.

    I'll give it a go, thanks.
     
  7. Oh right. It's worth seeing if it works. It's a good opportunity for them to have a say in how they want to be treated.
     
  8. You have to start reclaiming your territory. If somebody "challenges" you then just give them the facts. It is better to be challenged over the punishments you give while restoring order in your classroom, than to be challenged over having a class that is out of control.
    Plan for behaviour management. Don't bother with a proper plenary until you've got other issues sorted.
    A lesson with a long starter, a single explanation, then a long
    activity is appropriate for rowdy classes. Make sure students always have work to
    do. Start the lesson with work that can be started immediately without
    fuss or explanation. Warn students who don't get sat down in the right place and started. Stay sat at the front calling over kids to check their work. If you can get
    kids settled and working quickly at the start of the lesson then you are halfway
    there. Don't worry if your starter takes a long time and is easy, just
    so long as you are getting kids to work calmly for 15 minutes at the
    start of the lesson and - this is also important - getting to kick out anyone who is just looking
    for a confrontation before you start teaching the main part of the
    lesson.If, when you get onto the main part of the lesson, children are deliberately ignoring you when you ask for quiet you have to treat it as deliberate disobedience and start giving the warnings immediately, making a clear note of what the warnings are for. I find using a paper register with a series of codes - "C" for calling out", "S" for out of seat etc. is the most efficient way to do this, and, if you don't know every name off by heart, a seating plan is essential. They have to know you mean business. Don't try and talk over them. Don't let them argue over the warnings. Just use the sanctions continually until you have quiet in the room. It would be better to spend ten minutes giving warnings and removing multiple kids and then getting to teach rather than never teaching effectively at all.
    Teaching blog here.
     
  9. Thank you oldandrew for your practical advice. I never know where to draw the line between tactical ignoring and dealing with behaviour. I think this causes me problems because I let stuff go that I shouldn't. I'm just always so conscious that I'm being checked up on to see how many detentions/exits I'm issuing.
     
  10. Tactical ignoring is one of those concepts people have invented in order to blame teachers for their pupils' behaviour. Anything that is ignored by the teacher but observed by the kids immediately become acceptable.
    You have to get a thick skin about being checked up on. As long as you are on a permanent contract then there is very little they can do about you enforcing the rules and as frustrating as it is when management try and prevent you from doing your job, that should be less of a concern than doing your job.
    Good luck.
     
  11. Thank you. This is just what I needed!
     
  12. If you are going to be late for a lesson and you know its likely on a regular basis then make them a 'starter' book with a very short task they are to present to you on your arrival. Date them, make them clear and require an outcome.
    Have one good kid (there must be one or more) to have the books handed out.
    This will buy you the first 2 minutes in the lesson.
    But if your lessons are dry, then the auidence will not be enageged.
    Over Xmas you COULD build up a realistic bank of lessons on a white board...which of course you can use again....Dont make them too jazzy and something you can't keep up but have lots of work, lots of challenege and many different activities.
     
  13. There are some good kids in that class, and I really feel for them. Thanks for the ideas there.

    I don't think my lessons are overly dry, but I think they could do with livening up again. If I'm honest, it's hard to feel enthused and want to make nice resources when I feel that I hardly ever get to actually teach.

    I will take some time over the holidays to liven up my lessons a little though, thanks.
     
  14. Enough. There is no connection between the entertainment value of your lesson and the type of behaviour you describe. Children behave badly because they can get away with it. You have to concentrate on sorting the behaviour first; you can worry about "nice resources" later.
     
  15. Seska
    Don't waste your time creating resources which you know full well will just get flung back in your face. Spend your time rather chasing up whatever sanctions need to be chased up, planning lessons which will require the kids to be working from beginning to end, maybe strategically putting resources in the different rooms in which you'll be teaching so at least when you get there things are to hand. When behaviour improves, you'll have to spend less time chasing up sanctions and will therefore have more time on your hands; at that point you may have the time to prepare exciting resources, and there may then be some point in preparing them because the risk that they'll be flung back at you has diminished to acceptable (I.e. very low) levels. You are not there yet, and if the kids are as bad for you as you say, you won't be there for a while, although you will be there one day.
    It is to your credit you have to date been taking to heart the pearls of wisdom from your SLT. You know they are paid higher salaries than yours, and have been placed in, and accepted, positions of high responsibility, in order to ensure that the kids in their care get good educations; you correctly see that there is no way they could honestly and decently go along with this unless they actually did care, to the point of doing something effective, about the education the kids in your class are getting; you quite rightly start out with the assumption that they are honest and decent; so you are driven to the conclusion that they are talking sense to you on this issue.
    Your assumption is wrong. If they have been pressuring you to reduce, as a matter of course, sanctions fairly imposed on unruly pupils, despite no improvement in these pupils' behaviour, then they are utterly incompetent in their job, they are essentially being handsomely paid to make a school worse, and should be fired. They are supposed to be role models, to whom junior teachers can look for support and a good example, but in fact model nothing but callous professional indifference and dishonesty.
    PS That this astonishing state of affairs is actually rather far from astonishing in British schools today is a fact I'm afraid I'm getting ever less coy about pointing out.
     
  16. Hi
    I think thats correct and I woud like to add its probably more of a cyclical or two way thing
    Pupils not challenged and engaged = desire to play up
    Pupils behave badly becuase its the environment they dictate
    So, essentailly, nail the first bit and SOME/LOT'S of the poor behaviour won't arise....if it does THEN the behaviour management should be string
     
  17. That's odd, you appear to have said "that's correct" and then gone on to completely disagree with what I said.
    Perhaps I was not clear enough. They do not play up because they are not challenged and engaged. They play up because they can. A boring lesson can have a negative effect on behaviour, but that negative effect is most likely to be off-task behaviour and restlessness late in the lesson. It will not be refusal to listen or cooperate at the start of the lesson before they've even found out what they are going to be doing. Stop trying to shift the issue from the wrong choices of the kids to the ability of the teacher, you are sounding like a member of SMT.
     
  18. '....a good opportunity for them to have a say in how they want to be treated.'
    But isn't the problem how THEY treat others, not how others treat THEM?

     
  19. Yes but it makes it sounds a bit fairer to them than it actually is.
     
  20. No, If pupils are engaged lesson in lesson out then they resent going to the lesson and have a poor relationship with the subject and the teacher.
    As a result they kick off from the start as there are no drivers to keep for a relationship with the teacher/subject/learning process.
    "ohhh no we have subject _____ this afternoon...thats really sh@@@t"
    So they turn up play up
    Why? no connection through bad experiences.
    I teach some afwul kids who work for me as they like me. I teach kids who hate me but love the subject...I have kids who just like learning. Those that dislike me, dislike the subject and have no desire to learn are the problem kids...BUT if you are a good teacher, role model or provide materials to inspire, your cases of the habitual offenders is likely to be less.
    IIRC the drivers for poor behaviour are
    • Attention
    • Self Esteem
    • Revenge
    • Reaction
    All of these can be dealt with by teachers with MOST pupils thius reducing the number behaving badly.
    Poor teachers, weak teachers and those delivering boring lessons have most behaviour issues period

    Do kids play up
     

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