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Help! Have made a joke without thinking...

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by asm502, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. Hi

    I am currently in my NQT year and had some serious difficulties with managing my classes at the start. They have improved on the whole, but my year 9 class can still get rather boisterous. However, despite this they produce some good work and I do manage to have a laugh with them. This is part of the problem- I would say we have a friendly relationship but I accidentally (as in without thinking) made a joke at another pupil's expense. I asked him to do his top button up and he said the button was missing. It was soon after Christmas so I joked that it wasn't doing up after all the mince pies over the holidays. The class laughed and we carried on with our work. This boy is repeatedly chatty and distracting in lessons, so I rang home today when he didn't turn up for detention. They were supportive of that however, the boy informed his mum whilst I was on the phone to her of the joke that I had told, which, predictably, she did not take kindly too.

    I managed to had a chat with her and of course said I was sorry if there was any offence caused. Now I'm just not sure where to go next as she didn't say any more about it, but I'm worried that she may complain.

    Any advice out there for what my next move should be?

  2. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    This sort of thing hapens to all teachers. We are only human, we are not perfect.

    I suggest the following

    a. Let your HT know. The parent may contact them so it is always a good idea to warn the boss about any *** ups you make and ask for advice.

    b. Apologise to the child. This is the right thing to do and it should build a good working relationship with this child and others. You will be modelling good behaviour and showing that accepting mistakes and trying to put them right is part of being a responsible member of a community.

  3. Hi

    Thanks so much for your reply.

    Yes- I am definitely going to apologise to the student in question, I feel very guilty about this happening especially if I caused any offence.

    Just hoping (and I know it's probably a bit over the top) no disciplinary action or anything comes of it...

    I will let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again!
  4. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Do not do this. You may well draw unnecessary attention to your comment. From what you've said it doesn't sound like the parent wants to make that much of an issue of it. If she does complain then the fact you've alerted you head won't make much difference.
    Only do this if you genuinely think you've upset the child. It sounds more like he knew he was in the brown stuff for forgetting his detention and wanted to deflect some flak your way (sorry about the mixed metaphor).

  5. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    I would say though, please do try to stop worrying about this - it will almost certainly come to nothing and if you do get a bit of a telling off then just put it down to experience. It's highly unlikely to be as big a deal as you think and it's equally unlikely that the boy and his Mum have thought about it a 10th as much as you have.
  6. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    I know where you are coming from, YMB, but I feel that people should apologise if they feel that they have done wrong. This would demonstrate good behaviour to the child. I have done this, apologising to a child because I feel that I have been unfair or wrong. Usually the child just says 'ok', often with a puzzled look. Sometimes, the child asks why I apologised. I tell them.

    I also feel that you do need to be up front and honest with your managers although on reflection, maybe letting the HOD know would be a better first move.
  7. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Yes that's pretty much the point I was making. The question is, has he done wrong? The child only appeared to feel 'wronged' by the OP's joke once he (the chil) was in trouble for something else.
    Of course; I didn't say he should lie. No one needs to go and tell their manager everything before they've been asked though.

  8. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    This is a bit David Starkey, isn't it? I find that if we cross a line then it behoves us to do the gentlemanly thing and apologise, just as we would expect them to do in a similar situation. By modelling this type of behaviour, it gives us a bit of moral high ground that we would lack if we were mean and ignorant.
    That said, we don't need to be craven about it- a simple 'I crossed a line there and I apologise' is fine, rather than wringing our hands like a confessor and worrying ourselves to sleep about it. I also think that telling a line manager about everything like this is simply creating a situation where none exists- wait until it starts raining before raising your umbrella.
    Good luck

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