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I simply don't have authority with my classes

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by TheGeezer, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. TheGeezer

    TheGeezer New commenter

    I qualified as a teacher in 2013 and have somehow managed to continue teaching in schools despite great difficulties with behaviour management. I've had "times out" doing tutoring and suchlike, but, having read the latest guru on behaviour management, have been tempted back in, and despite my chequered employment history get taken on, my subject being a "shortage" one. Having started a new job this September, as a long term supply through an agency, I've finally come to the conclusion that, for some mysterious reason I just lack authority in front of a crowd of kids. I've thought this for a long time, but, on reading Tom Bennett on the "myth of classroom presence" I've been prepared to have another go at winning respect through simply consistently applying sanctions till classes submit. It's still early days, but what has struck me with almost all my classes - predominantly KS3 - is that there has been absolutely no "honeymoon period" except with the year 7s. Indeed, thinking back, I think that this has always been the case for me with the many new classes I've had in the different places I've worked. I notice that classes are failing to be quiet from the outset: even when they are waiting outside the classroom prior to their first lesson with me, I'm having to repeatedly call for quiet. The "honeymoon period", about which teachers always speak - that supposed automatic wariness with a new teacher that normally lasts at least a few lessons - just isn't happening. Somehow there is something about me that screams "has no authority". I don't think it's specifically a problem with kids, but rather with CROWDS, of, frankly, any age. Crowds seem to operate at a distinctly primitive level, picking up the "scent of fear" or whatever that might be. I'm mi-career switcher to teaching, and, thinking about it, in my pre-teacher life I have found the times I have had to manage a crowd very difficult.

    So, time to give my notice, only a week in my case.
  2. freckle06

    freckle06 Lead commenter

    If you've already decided to resign, then advice is not what you are after. Therefore, I wish you luck with whatever you choose to do next.
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    good luck. Maybe try somewhere else. Authority in reality doesn't come so much from the classroom teacher, rather from the behaviour management policy and the whole structure and SMT support in the school.

    so don't take this too personally.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy? Because you think you can't do it then 'lo and behold..............'

    Assuming that you want to address this rather than just run away screaming:
    1. Identify someone in SLT to approach and ask for support with classroom management.
      At this time of year they're quite desperate to prove that they're useful and generally speaking support is much better if you seek it out. Also if you're shortage then they really have to do all they can to keep you because the alternative will be non-existent or very poor.
    2. Study the behaviour policy and apply it viciously, follow the adage "Don't smile until Christmas" and make sure that any instructions you give are done or followed up asap.
    Actually that's it. Supply can be an enjoyable way to teach and if you can deal adequately* with poor behaviour then you have a large choice of schools to go for.

    *just adequately enough to keep your sanity. Don't be a superstar or be jealous of them.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I wouldn't give up just yet.

    Firstly, do what John suggests and seek out SLT for support.

    Secondly, behaviour in recent years has gotten far more difficult to manage for various reasons which I won't go into here. Many people struggle and some won't admit it - they close the doors to the classrooms and try to hide it.

    You may need to speak more firmly and change your tone of voice. You have to expect that they will follow your instructions.

    It is definitely not easy, but as John says, if you are in a shortage subject it seems to me the sensible solution would be for the school to assist you and to keep you there instead of trawling around for another supply teacher who may have exactly the same concerns as you because of the nature of the classes.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.

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