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Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by segbog, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. cobalt54

    cobalt54 New commenter


    I think you are right: Raymond is not the person who is going to make you see the problem in a better light. Anyone who can airily talk about "whole school behaviour management strategies" is clearly not speaking your language. And someone whose relationship with SMTs is I imagine that of a friendly advisor is unlikely to fully understand the frustrations you are experiencing in working under such dross. Unfortunately I dont know if I'll be of any more use to you.
    As you indicate the problem is largely a cultural one and there are limitations to what you can achieve. But you would not be writing here unless you thought the situation could be improved, so that's a positive step. I've worked with what was pithily described on this blog as 'rammy merchants,' teachers who could smile blithely through period after period of anarchy, and you are clearly not one of them.
    I think you can write off the SMT as well if they are as ineffective as you describe. So you are largely on your own. Raymond and others suggested 'policies' which can be helpful up to a point (the point usually being when they are not supported by SMT!) But what about personality? What do you have to offer there? You are obviously tenacious as you have been keeping this thread going for the best part of two months. You have a subject speciality; you can communicate forcefully; you have more life experience than any of your charges. You are actually far stronger than any of them. And despite them trying to drive teachers out of the school you're still there.That's just for starters: I obviously dont know you but I'm sure there is more to add.
    When we're under pressure as teachers the tendency is to become defensive, taciturn and cold; to deal with ill-discipline by quoting from the rule book. But the minute we do this we are playing into the hands of the Behaviour Management Crew who are constantly revising the rule book. We are actually turning away from the greatest asset we have in the classroom which is ourselves. Our humanity (I know that sounds rather grand) is presumably what attracted us to teaching in the first place and if that means cajoling, standing your ground occasionally, joking, or even taking a step towards a sub-culture you dont have much time for in order to get a meaningful contact with the pupils then I think it's worthwhile. The pupils will be far more interested in you than they are in your subject I suspect, so show them who you are. (Within limits; I dont think calling them 'feral' is a good idea)
    Sorry I cant be more practical. All behaviour systems I suspect really boil down to the principle of the carrot and the stick. The stick was taken away some years ago, and for some pupils the carrot is not particularly inviting so it can be a difficult job. But dont forget who you are. If you've something to give then the pupils, despite themselves perhaps, will at least faintly recognise this. It's a start.
  2. Keep turning up. Try not to take any **** (or at least set a consistent line/list of action which you are clear in your own mind will trigger a serious response and also be clear about what form that response will take. One of my worst mistakes used to be starting sentences with, "Stop that or I'll..." without having a clear idea of what I was going to do!) get through each day as it comes.
  3. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Excellent advice, cobalt - I agree that our humanity is the best "resource" we have.
    However, there are a few SMTs I'm not that friendly with... [​IMG]
  4. gnulinux

    gnulinux Occasional commenter

    The fact that there have been 263 posts on this topic in 20 days indicates the sheer scale of the problem and the extent to which it is not being faced up to by those with the power to change things. The people in school who have the real power to deal with disruptive behaviour are SMT's. Classroom teachers can only do so much, no matter how 'good' a teacher they are, or think they are, but basically their hands are tied. To blame teachers for not being assertive enough, or for not using behaviour management techniques, or some other lame excuse assumes that bad behaviour is to some extent acceptable and to be expected and maybe even be a right of pupils. This is total rubbish of course. Pupils have a responsibility to behave well and actually have no right at all to behave badly. Teachers have a right to expect pupils to be quiet and respectful when teaching/learning is taking place. Pupils who disrupt a lesson should be removed from that class by SMT - there should be no debate about this. Ultimately the buck stops with the HT. The HT should make sure that their SMT's are prepared to act to allow those pupils who want to learn to do just that. Those who do not want to learn and actively try to drag others down to their level have made their choice. Let them take the consequences - and there must be consequences.
    Blaming teachers for indiscipline only results in demoralised teachers.
  5. Where do you suggest these pupils go?
    What should the consequences be?

  6. That is thee most sense I have read in a long time!! Having elected to return to being class teacher after being in the SMT of one school for 4 years and as HT for 2.5 years, I totally agree where the responsibility lies. Ultimately we are teachers, not social workers, home/school link workers nor police, but teachers paid to teach our whole class. If one or more disruptive pupils prevent the teaching and learning of the rest, they should be immediately removed.

    Having had a day from the proverbial today, resulting in one pupil being assaulted and the assaulter absconding from school, I now have a meeting with parent, HT and HSLW tomorrow morning at 8.30 to 'justify' my actions in class. Well, my justification is this: the child assaulted another child, refused to comply with me, CA, PT and finally the HT. 40 minutes of teaching time was taken up with this child, my planning went up the spout, the 'pulling of rabbits out of hats' took place to alleviate the fears and stresses most evident in the rest of the class.
    So, to cap it all, I can look forward to the early meeting tomorrow (which of course means I will arrive half an hour earlier than my usual time of 8am to set up the class to ensure learning takes place tomorrow!) followed by a full day teaching, and then parent/teacher evening tomorrow evening. Another fabby day to look forward to!!
    Feeling valued? Nope!
    Feeling respected? Nope!
    Feeling like we should strike on the 30th of November - Ohhh yes!!
    Bring back discipline quick before the education of our children suffers even more...OK, rant over[​IMG]
  7. Can't agree more - every day I die a little more and nothing is being done because of lazy SMT and a broken system. It may be, in fact is, ok in other schools, but mine is in a total mess. Bring back disciplne. This is what is wrong with these schools, and it is so obvious.

  8. They shouldn't be in classes if they are disrupting their own learning and that of others. There have to be clear consequences for small transgressions of rules so that pupils learn that poor behaviour will be dealt with.
  9. I agree, but where should they go? Where do you want the SMT to take them to? For how long?

    Again, I agree. But what should those consequences be? Do you expect SMT to deal with "small transgressions"or class teacher?

  10. Well said that man (or woman [​IMG]). That simply is the bottom line - and it's one that is being curiously ignored IMO. I've been baffled as to why politicians can publicy spruike about 'our education system being one to be proud of' when it plainly isn't. Have any of them ever paid an impromptu visit to witness first hand what many teachers have to endure as their place of work - to see what sort of hands into which the future of this country is going to be entrusted?
    Precisely so - the only debate there should be is regarding why this is not happening. As to the question of 'where would they go?' - anywhere outside of a mainstream educational facility where they can't disrupt those who want to learn or those who want to teach. Perhaps those who think up the multitude of hairbrained 'behaviour management schemes' could start their own facilities and rigorously test their ideas before foisting them upon everyone else.
    There's really only one consequence of consequence. As previously stated, pupils do not have the right to behave badly, but if they choose to, the consequence should be the loss of their right to an education - until they prove that they are both willing and able to behave acceptably. Personally, I don't see it as the remit of a class teacher to attend to that. The business of teaching and learning is complicated enough without having to sort out the tripe that happens in classrooms.
  11. Again - cannot agree more.
    Some real sense being talked here...good to know there are others who think the same...i.e...most teachers...

  12. Who will supervise them whilst they are out of class?
    What do you suggest the penalty is? Detention? Exclusion? Copying out a passage?
    Apologies for being so persistent here, but your proposal was stated very simply as "there should be consequences". If sbf takes that to the SMT, they are just going to pin him down on exactly what those consequences should be. In my experience, going to SMT with an exact solution is much more effective than going with a complaint and a vague "I want consequences". It may be that the request is unreasonable, but at least it can start a discussion around what is needed versus what is feasible.
    So, not because of lack of support from the SMT? Quite often, the perceived lack of support from SMT is due to problems getting parents on side. Crux of the matter is here, IMO. The SMT can only do so much. Parents, and certainly the parents of the pupils you are talking about, are much more aware of their legal rights than the class teacher is. They know how far the school can go, and what their child needs to do to stay on the right side of that, but no more.
    This sounds like a great idea, very similar to what we have in our school for extreme cases.
    This is also something the SMT can easily accomodate, being the people in charge of staffing.
  13. SMT. I thought that was implicit. Having said that, some Faculty Heads work a manageable system of taking kids out and if there's the right balance of classes there's merit in just shifting miscreants into other teachers' classes. None of this is going to sort the worst of your current offenders but if you can establish an ethos of consequences early on then you can train them into behaving. I have a class full of the school's worst kids at the moment who all behave consistently well in my class. I'm not doing anything magical. It's simply because I also ha a fair few of them in S1 a few years and they are used to doing what I tell them.
    It was an opinion more than a proposal. I didn't realise I was supposed to be drafting a behaviour management policy! Surely that's a job for...
    Everything I suggested assumes support from SMT. Without support from SMT things are very hard. As I said earlier, sometimes it's even worse and SMT are actively detrimental to upholding good behaviour.
    But not overall budget. And not when it's been stupidly decided that "inclusion" means pupils are in a mainstream classroom regardless of actual need.
  14. So, you want a member of the SMT to be available to supervise kids who have been removed from class. In all likelyhood, you're going to need a member of the SMT available all week to do this task. Whether they do it on a rota or assign one person, you're looking at spending £50K a year for a management post which is effectively babysitting children, especially if the school is as bad as SBF says it is.
    This sounds more workable, but doesn't require the SMT involvement that is craved.
    In other words, you, as a teacher have managed the behaviour by building and maintaining a reputation. You have empowered yourself - isn't this exactly what Raymond was suggesting earlier?
  15. Well, Raymond and others have been criticised enough for vague idealistic ideas about how to approach the problem. Isn't "there should be consequences" just as vague and idealistic? I just wanted to find out what you had in mind. If you have nothing in mind, then that's fine. Only, if SBF is going to have ammo to approach the SMT with, then he's going to need something more than "I want consequences to happen". If it's not easy for us to think of what the consequences should be, as experienced teachers, then why do we expect the SMT (who are often less experienced teachers) to come up with them? I think we expect too much sunshine out of the behinds of our SMT. In my experience, the class teacher is usually the most creative when it comes to behaviour management.
    I agree, and I've experienced it myself in the past. I've also ignored their advice and carried on regardless, keeping a diary of what I've done with the class, as well as noting the support that has been given or not given. I never needed to use the diary, but it was there if I was ever officially challenged. If SMT give up dealing with kids, they are likely to give up dealing with staff too.

  16. Gotta say I wasn't commenting on a specific school. Dealing with the worst offenders isn't just babysitting. The fact that it is SMT dealing with the problem shows staff, child and parents that the behaviour is not acceptable within the normal day to day running of the school. Effective whole school behaviour management is exactly the kind of thing we do pay biger salaries for - sitting in an office doing admin is not worthy of 50K a year.
    You've missed the point. I haven't empowered myself. It's luck that this group of pupils returned to me - another group and I'd be struggling. That's not empowerment.
  17. Why the f*** are they in the job if they have little experience and no ideas? How can we expect kids to live up to their responsibilities when you seem keen to excuse the very people who should be setting an example? Words fail me!
  18. 8 out from classes today...nothing will be done...this is going to continue. This is not education. It's torture. And the poor kids that want to learn are sufferring.
    I really despair...

    When are we going to care for the ones that want to learn in the lower classes? Is that ever going to happen? Or is all attention given to the nutters?
  19. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    That must be the quote of the day!
  20. Then I give up. Every negative comment I read in this thread about SMT draws attention to the fact that they are not capable of dealing with this problem. When others say that, it's fine, but when I say it, I'm "excusing the people who should be setting an example?". Make yer mind up. Are they incompetent or competent? If they are incompetent, then no amount of words will change that, hence the comment about the teacher taking the initiative. Whatever.

    I thought it was an interesting discussion despite the personal attacks, and was keen for the discussion to provide enough information and confidence for people like segbog to have the balls to challenge the SMT and maybe move to a more happy place in their job.

    To be honest, I really could't give a toss if this is your attitude. The advice I give is not theoretical advice - it's advice I've either used myself or seen used with success in the past. The experiences I describe are likewise.
    Take the advice or not, I won't offer any more.

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