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Grrrr! (Difficult class, difficult h.o.d.)

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by msloops, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. I am so annoyed!!!
    I am an NQT and I have got a really horrid class. This term I had up to now been feeling better about it, cracking down on their behaviour and trying to make sure my lessons were as good as I could get them so I can limit the impact of smoe individuals on the well behaved motivated students in the class. I'm not saying my lessons are the best ever - I'm not doing too brilliantly with my NQT induction - but I'm trying really hard. I had an absolutely awful lesson with them today - students throwing things, several kids talking over me constantly, mocking everything I was saying, getting up and wandering around as they felt like it etc. I kept lots of kids (probably too many - I find it really hard to be fair and consistent when everything's kicking off all over the place) back at lunch time and they kind of ganged up on me, wouldn't sit quietly and were still shouting at me etc. I saw my head of department at this point and she told me to dismiss them and that she'd send letters home. I was sort of hoping she would have a word with them at this point, but no.
    I then reported the ringleaders with an incident form and the head of year 8 sent an email back saying that she did not want those 3 students in my class until the school policeman carried out a restorative justice session, and telling my head of department to contact their parents explaining tehy weren't allowed into their English lesson until they could prove they could behave appropriately and stop bullying their teacher. I was really pleased at the prospect of a few lessons knowing that the worst offenders (by no means the only ones - but probably the most unmanageable) were going to be away and properly dealt with. But my head of department replied to the email, saying that she would write a letter home, ignoring the head of year 8's suggestion (that wasn't even a suggestion - she told the HOD what to do) and basically blaming it on me because I hadn't used the faculty on call system in the lesson. (Which I should have, but I was trying to deal with a lot of incidents and wasn't really thinking as straight as I could have been.)
    It is just so frustrating to have felt that I'd got so close to having an incident properly and seriously dealt with, that she would just ignore all the advice and continue to do nothing. Whatever she writes in the letter, she won't follow it up. I don't see why she can't just do what the head of year 8 says. ARGH!
    Sorry for long rant. At the end of my tether today. Any suggestions for how I can deal with this situation would be welcome.
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    There is nothing you can do now about this situation. You have passed it on and it has been dealt with. There is no requirement for our managers and leaders to deal with things as we would like them to, shame I know but hey!

    Remember they will have had a letter home before you meet them again. that will have had an effect.

    Next lesson, start off by being strong and confident (difficult, but pretend) and use the on call system as soon as anyone steps out of line however mildly. Start to let them know that you are having none of it. If you send out 10-20 pupils using the on call thing then so what. Keep using it from the start of every lesson and they (and you HOD) will get the message soon enough.

    Sounds like you are having a bad day and a rough ride with one class. Both of which are totally normal in an NQT year (And indeed in many years). Things will get better and easier...I promise.

    I had an awful year 10 class in my first year teaching. 6 boys never once sat on their chairs, just on their table with their feet on their chair and told me to 'F*** off' every time I asked them to do anything (stop listening to music, sit on their chair, stop talking). Now, 14 years later, I know no class of children would ever even think of behaving that way for me. Seriously it does get easier and better.
  3. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Excellent post, minnie
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Your frustration is probably connected to the relative feeling of powerlessness that being at the bottom of the power pyramid entails. To some extent, you do have to just accept that this is how your line managers are dealing with the situation, because in a practical, structural sense, you can't override them.
    However...that doesn't mean you are powerless. It sound like your school has problems with its chain of command, or the transparency of the decision making process. Who, after all, is the ranking officer in this matter? As far as I'm, concerned, the HOY is the primary referee of pastoral matters in his or her year group, and the HOD's first function is curricular- obviously there are significant areas of overlap in any ecosystem as complex as a school, but without some level of clarity, incidents like this will happen.
    Speak to the HOL and ask them what they think about the situation and the response- they may even be able to resolve the matter delicately
    Speak to your HOD and ask them exactly when the letters will be sent, and what they'll say. Incidentally, I think that a letter home is a pretty poor sanction for shouting at a teacher and persistently refusing to follow instructions.If they're in detention, they should behave perfectly. If not, then the sanction should be escalated, and they should be experiencing a longer sanction, such as an hour, or whatever the next level is.
    The problem is that the HOD, by only (possibly..) sending a letter home, has sent the message that the kids can muck about in your detentions, which undermines your classroom authority, which needs support in order to grow. Incidentally, a phone call home is usually more effective tool than a letter. As we see from internet forums, it's too easy to misinterpret the written word, unless artfully done, and voice tone and conversation are often much better at getting parents onside. Of course, letters are quicker and easier, and don't require as much engagement...
    Distasteful as it might sound, manage upwards gently; make sure that what your HOD says will happen, does happen. And ask for your HOY's advice about future disruptions, and how to deal with them. IMO you've been let down a bit. In order to avoid the HOD accusing you of future 'transgressions' of the behavioural system, try to use the call-out rule if you can. But I appreciate that in a busy room, it's often hard to get the rule book out when you're juggling twenty other issues.

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