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Difficulty with top sets!

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by ealdor, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Hi all,
    I am at the start of my second term as an NQT, and after a very tricky first term, I have had my confidence shaken. I do not think I started off as firmly as I really should have done with any of my classes. It has now gotten to the point where they are still trying it on, after a whole term.
    I started this term out with the decision to be firmer, which has gone alright so far. My main issue is however that I have two top sets who should be well behaved I'm informed. However, they are chatty, and my Y9's in particular spend far too long messing about, throwing things, and a small group of them try to get each other in trouble by telling tales, even when things haven't really taken place. I'm finding it very difficult implementing the school sanctions system (a series of levels building up to detentions and contacting home) as there are just too many kids messing about at the moment.
    I use a more blanket approach when they won't focus on me when I'm explaining something, tallying minutes on the board and keeping the repeat offenders of that lesson in for that particular number of minutes. This is working for the chattiness, but I don't know where to go in terms of spotting what they're up to when I'm around the class helping individuals - any ideas/suggestions?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Hi all,
    I am at the start of my second term as an NQT, and after a very tricky first term, I have had my confidence shaken. I do not think I started off as firmly as I really should have done with any of my classes. It has now gotten to the point where they are still trying it on, after a whole term.
    I started this term out with the decision to be firmer, which has gone alright so far. My main issue is however that I have two top sets who should be well behaved I'm informed. However, they are chatty, and my Y9's in particular spend far too long messing about, throwing things, and a small group of them try to get each other in trouble by telling tales, even when things haven't really taken place. I'm finding it very difficult implementing the school sanctions system (a series of levels building up to detentions and contacting home) as there are just too many kids messing about at the moment.
    I use a more blanket approach when they won't focus on me when I'm explaining something, tallying minutes on the board and keeping the repeat offenders of that lesson in for that particular number of minutes. This is working for the chattiness, but I don't know where to go in terms of spotting what they're up to when I'm around the class helping individuals - any ideas/suggestions?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  3. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    What's the layout of your room like? One strategy could be changing it so you have better sight lines from different places. That could allow you to create better seating plans to keep problem kids apart or make it harder for them to interact with each other/do silly stuff without you seeing.
    Also, keep working on your peripheral vision - you can give some of them a bit of a shock if you can catch them at something when it seems to them you're looking elsewhere...

     
  4. And, exaggerate this. If you see someone doing something (whether it's in your peripheral vision or not) while you're doing something else, then just turn ever so slightly so that they are very definitely NOT in your line of sight, THEN say their name and whatever command you need whilst pointing in their direction. They will automatically look up and will see that you have "seen" them even though you are currently not looking in their direction and are actually working with another pupil. (I know that pointing isn't particularly polite, but I find that it adds to the effect as it forces them to see the line of sight, and more importantly, the fact that you aren't even looking at them but can still command them!)
    Some of my pupils are convinced that my glasses have special mirrors in them because I did this so often at the beginning of the year. It's amazing what they will stop doing because they think you can always see them.
    Also, top sets are often very competitive, so try to use this to your advantage. Even if it's just as crass as a giving a test and making sure that the results are "public". If the ones messing around are towards the bottom (especially if you precede the test by asking them to set their own targets) then that may be enough to spur them on.
     
  5. j_pink

    j_pink New commenter

    Hi, you're not alone! Some of the techniques I use with my noisy year 9 top sets include:
    Faking annoyance/being fed up
    Exaggerating being bored by getting my pen and writing random notes at my desk/filing my nails
    Folding arms and puffing my cheeks out works[​IMG]
    I don't shout - it doesn't work for me - I'm a mumsy type! But they actually do quieten when I look bored. Then I always follow up with a chirpy "right then shall we carry on?" this works well.
    If It becomes a constant problem I go back to rows of boy/girl for a few weeks with a full lesson of silent grammar work. Then they know I ain't happy!
     

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