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Is it like this for everyone?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by anon2047, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Hi, I suppose I am having a bit of a whinge. I started my first NQT job this year and after lesson 1 I was leaving and never going back, then had a nice class, then on day 2 had a tough class and spent lunchtime crying in my cupboard (so no one could see me!)
    I do have challenging classes.
    I don't suppose anyone could spare some advice?
  2. Advice? Make sure the cupboard has a few ventilation holes?
    Seriously, though, have you spoken to your NQT mentor about this? That's what they're for. Also, what about discussing the classes with other teachers?
    As an NQT you obviously have a few more free periods - try to observe some of these pupils in other classes around the school. Perhaps you'll pick up a few ideas on how to get them working from other teachers. The worst thing that can come out of this is that you realise you're not alone, but more likely is that you'll be feeling a lot more prepared for the next time you see them.
  3. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    When you say 'this year', you do mean academic year, don't you? You're not talking about a day or two, surely? If so, you've got to give it a chance. All classes are tough if you start in January, well, maybe Year 7 are a bit easier and top sets tend to be more forgiving but most will give your hard time until they see that you're in control. If this has been going on since last term, you must tell someone. Looking at your post again, I think you do mean you've started there this week. What year groups and subjects?
  4. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    It's completely normal Jaimie. I started after Oct half term and have been stressed since!
    But the first 2-3 weeks are the worse, things do start to improve after this but I think the biggest challenge of the NQT year is behaviour. I have a horrible Yr 9 and 10 class that I see a total of 7 hours a week between them.
    I have spoken to my mentor and have had a lesson observed-suprisingly they were all little angels with the other teacher in the room. I have also arranged to observe other teachers during my free periods.
    At the moment I feel like I am not right for teaching and want to leave but everyone tells me it gets better.....
  5. Chazette

    Chazette New commenter

    Jaime - you gotta chill out sweetie.

    You were getting yourself worked up beforehand and now after 2 days you've got yourself into such a tizz you cant function properly - relax!
    One bad class is not the end of the world - it's an hour of your time that you shouldn't dwell on, but reflect and see what you were doing.
    Have you set out your rules? Are you sticking to them? Your students are testing you (they all do) and honestly, they want you to win. Little tip - get them to write their names on a card and put it on the front of their desk - it'll help you learn names quicker and will help you control more rather than 'oi you, the one with the black hair...no you behind him' etc etc. I know its not tru in all cases but my classes definetly responded better after I picked up their names!
    The main thing to remember is that not every other teacher in that school has kids under control for the entire day - you walk into any other class in your department and i bet you there will be behaviour issues.
    Im in term 2 of NQT - 6 classes - 5 are sorted, 1 isn't and it won't ever be fully, i just do my best, stick to the schools behaviour policy, notify parents where neccessary, and then let it go. You can't run yourself down sweetie - I know its hard!
  6. Thank you for the replies everyone, yes I did start this week and it was a bottom set year 9 and 10 group. They are all in a new seating plan, which needs to change again for a couple of people! I spent 20 minutes getting them to do that!
    The thing is, if they refuse to do any work I'm not really sure what i'm supposed to do with them? Chuck them out, phone home? to make things worse, i can't locate the behaviour policy and what rules I have s
    een seem to vary.
    I think this is a main issue for me, i can't relax and I can't seem to switch off either - never have been able to.
    Today was a better day but still tough - I get those groups again next week - 3 days in a row!
    Thanks so much for the advice!

  7. Chazette

    Chazette New commenter

    Do both - it works. I refuse to have anyone in my classroom that doesn't want to work. Talk to your HoD or Inclusion office and get the two main aggrevators taken out of the lesson for about a week (set work for them obviously) The rest of the class know you mean business and will settle - its not worth the hassle for them.
    Then call home - make it clear the behaviour is not acceptable - you will not have a pupil disrupting other pupils learning.
    I have Y9 Set 5 - horrible class. One week I called the parents of every single student - either to say how awesome they are and apologise for the others or to say how I was disappointed with behaviour, it needed to improve and could I have their support? Worked well, the class can still give me grief last thing on a thursday but overall its a huge improvement from september.
  8. emmadrg

    emmadrg New commenter

    Hang on in there, Jaime. It's early days and new classes very rarely just do what you want when you want from the get-go.
    You've started after Christmas, a whole term into the academic year, and it's unbelievably difficult to do that.
    Bottom set year 9 will be horrible, no matter when you have them or how long you have been teaching.
    With regards to the non-workers, put a note in their planner and let their head of year know. Make a note in your planner as well, it it was a one-off then you need do no more apart from monitor the situation. Persistant lack of work should be dealt with by a head of department and a letter or phone call home. Talk to some of their other teachers and see what their effort is like in other subjects. You could take them out and have a little chat - they might be really struggling and scared/unwilling to ask for help.
    Things will get better, trust me. It will take time but you will get there.
    Good luck!
  9. Jaime,
    You ask "Is it like this for everyone?" and in my experience, it is. As others have mentioned, the students are testing you to see what they can get away with. My advice would be:
    - Be very clear on expectations of behaviour (nail the policy down, and carry it out using emotional intelligence) and be fair and consistent.
    - Contact parents, using facts (write down exactly what happened) and linking your concerns to students' learning and progress. Look for ways to build positive, collaborative relationships with parents, and try contacting parents for positive reasons in the first instance, and regularly.
    - Be positive with the students, find reasons to praise positive behaviour, and expect good behaviour, giving more attention to those who follow instructions. If you expect them to misbehave, you'll be 'primed' to notice negative behaviour rather than positive.
    - Don't take it personally. Stay positive yourself and keep trying different techniques (observing them in other lessons, collaborating with colleagues, looking at how effectively you have planned for and personalised their learning). These are things within your sphere of influence, so try to focus on making things like engagement and differentiation in your lessons as good as they can be and perhaps it will reduce disruption.

    Classes like this won't change overnight, but I believe the worst thing you can do is to let them get to you and affect how you feel towards them. Put the effort in now and the benefits will hopefully show.
    One thing that has really helped me this year is setting goals with my year 10 class that they will reach a certain grade in their GCSE (that they will take early). My students know I care about them, have a plan for them, and they know that they will have achieved something fantastic by the end of the year if they work hard. However, it is hard to do this when you don't know the students very well, or if they are not in a position to achieve this kind of success early (although you could adapt the idea to their own situation).
    Good luck and stay positive! Be thankful for the good classes you have, and when your harder classes have a fantastic lesson it will mean all the more to you.
  10. Jaime, I'm afraid I don't have any advice but I have just started too and I'm also struggling with behaviour. I'm primary so I am with them all day, every day. It sounds like a great idea to observe them with other teachers- I wish I could do that!
    The thing I'm struggling with is that I refuse to start talking until I have everyone's attention and until they are all sitting in silence. This takes so long that the pace of the lesson is really slowed down and I'm concerned about the progress of the whole class.
    I'm just hoping that if I stick with it, they will understand I mean business. Just know that you're not alone- I'm definitely in the same boat.
  11. Hi Jamie
    Read your message, totally sympathise. The first year is tough for everyone, and is harder for some more than others depending on the nature of your classes. I too have mostly very difficult classes for one reason or another.
    However there are a few things u must do.
    ASAP locate your school behaviour policy. This is the most important thing, until they are behaving it will be difficult for you, you can have the best lessons in the world but its no good if they are misbehaving. Usually school policy is very clear. Locate this, summarise the key points and put it on the wall in your rooms.
    Within this choose your battles, for example the key ones for me are uniform (because the kid cant argue with this, if the uniform is incorrect I issue a sanction, there is no arguement because we can all see it is incorrect - this sends a message out that I will issue sanctions and they also think, well if shell issue a sanction for uniform what will she do if I do something worse). Secondly I will issue sanctions for any form of defiance, such as arguing and answering me back. So for these 2 points my kids are very clear on my expectations.
    It sounds to me as if you are having whole class issues which are harder to manage i.e. than an individual student misbehaving. So for example, them talking over u. This is the hardest because where do u start. I have this problem and have done everything text book/people advise. In this instance, you can either have a sheet with every kids name on, tick it when they do it then issue sanctions accordinly at the end of the lesson. As they do it write their names on the board, and escualate the sanctions this way. I know its harsh but u need to pick on a few and make examples of them, follow through with the sanctions, they hate it, and most will soon conform. Each lesson is different so u have to keep doing it.
    Seating plans, I also have probs in this area because we are in cramped rooms, theres too many key players, so wherever I move them is hard. You could try rearranging the actual room.
    Another thing if u have issues of whole class disruption, dont go for lessons that are too teacher led, or discussion oriented, they dont work, start them off, issue a task, and then go round the tables, this way the ones who want to work can get on and you can help them.
    Try and observe difficult classes, or be observed. I have done this. Suprisingly my kids didnt change behaviour when deputy heads in room, and we agreed I just had tough classes.
    However I almost got outstanding for my NQT. Whereas I expected to be marked down for behaviour. However the observers all said my behaviour mangement was very strong, because they witnessed me tackling it and issuing sanctions. You cant control kids behaviour but u can influenece how u react to it.
    Also what I learned when I observed colleagues teaching is that noone has perfectly behaved classes, I have seen teachers with worse behaviour in their classroom than me, and better. If u do observe, try and observe a younger less experienced teacher, u want to see them manage behaviour, not just see an established and respected teacher command the automatic respect.
    Keep going Jamie, its a tough year, each day will have highs and lows. I have also cried, but get the advice and help u need. Always look like u are in control in front of the children and dont be so hard on yourself, noone expects u to be perfect.
    Hope that helps

  12. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    You're doing the right thing. Once you start talking over 1 or 2, they will all start talking and you'll never get them quiet.
    If they're taking forever, they need some kind of sanction for taking so long to be quiet. Start a timer when you want to start talking, and wait for silence as normal. Tell them that however long is on the timer when they eventually be quiet is how long the whole class will be in for at break. they'll soon shut up! If there are 1 or 2 repeat offenders, sanction them. Ask them to leave the room (if you're allowed) and start the lesson. Once you've got the kids doing something, go get the kids from outside and ask them why they were sent out. Then let them rejoin the lesson and keep them in at break for the amount of lesson they missed, explaining that as they missed out on the input they have to have it at break instead.
  13. Hi everyone,
    Thank you soooo much for the support and advice! It does seem to be the whole class misbehaving with certain individuals being slightly more difficult. I have been told I cannot keep a whole class back for misbehaving and refusal to work.
    I get these particular classes this week, so i will try out some of the strategies mentioned here and I will report back as to how I get on.
    I have been ill recently which doesn't help the way i feel, however if I can teach these kids, then hopefully I can teach anywhere.
    I just do not want to fail my NQT year because I cannot manage class behaviour.
    Many thanks again,

  14. Thanks ModgePodge. I have been giving out break detentions to the repeat offenders but there is one boy in particular who is really pushing me and acts as though he is pleased to get the detentions. I know he's just seeing how long I can keep going and I have no intention of giving up. I am reluctant to send him to my colleague's class every lesson so I will ask my mentor about sending him out into the book area right outside. He's just disruptive and shows up in front of the class- I don't imagine he would cause much trouble out there alone.My TA should be able to keep an eye on him out there too.
    Jaime, I know how it's horrible but I think it's a matter of sticking with it until they understand that you are serious. I'm just really trying to keep going and chat to anyone and everyone for advice. Do you have another NQT in your school that you could use as a support network? I met one last week and it was really nice to talk to someone else with the same problems.

  15. Are you me? This was me last year. I too started in January but have been out of work since September as I was on a maternity cover, but all the advice you've got so far is sound. I was in pieces and you sound like you're doing better than me! For me though I'm not sure this is the job I want anymore. Use this forum is the best advice I can give you there are so many great people on here!
  16. This might have been said already but don't take it personally and no matter what they say do not show that they are upsetting or winding you up. I spent 3/4 of my NQT year wondering why many classes wouldn't listen no matter how many sanctions I set and how much I raised my voice and remember the conversation I had with another member of staff - I commented that I just didn't get how they weren't getting bored of achieving nothing every lesson and the other person pointed out that they were achieving one goal spectacularly, managing to wind me up! Also the stopwatch idea is great as they just cannot argue with how much time they have wasted...
  17. rachyclaire

    rachyclaire New commenter

    I was like this when I started my NQT post in November, although I don't have my own classroom, so no cupboard for me to go and cry in!! I've had a really tough day today, and been incredibly frustrated, but one kid has been great, and he was awful before xmas, so I've called his mum and told her what a huge improvement he's made and that I hope he keeps it up, and wierdly that has cheered me up a bit, I'm hoping now that he'll tell the others and maybe they'll improve! The biggest thing I learnt on my PGCE is it's rarely everyone that's misbehaving, there's usually a few key players who start everyone else off, and they're not easy to spot, I hadn't worked it out till today, and they were all late, so my class was lovely for the first 5 mins! Next lesson, zero tolerance!
    I've made it my new years resolution to be hotter on my behaviour management, (as well as keeping up with all my marking)!
  18. Hi, I have read everyone's advice and tried some strategies out. It is definitely a whole class issue. Today some of the kids started fighting, I asked for help which didn't come, I sent for a teacher next door who didn't come. When the SMT did come, they sent one of the offenders back in which undermined me. From that moment on they just ignored me.
    I have now issued after school detentions, the whole class should do it personally but it is frowned upon.
    I do not know what else to do and want to quit asap.
    I don't know what else to do and have no support, I love teaching and want to stay in the profession but am really in at a very challenging school with little/no support.
    If i quit then my career as a teacher will be over, I really don't know what to do. On top of that, my husband has been told he is under threat of redundancy and I teach ICT!
    A bad week and i don't know what to do...
    Please spare some more advice if you can, I am listening and following it!
    Jaime :)

  19. Hi Jamie,

    My first words are to you chill. Not meant in a patronising way at all. Think about the big picture. Behaviour is one of the small things that you need to get right as an NQT. There is all the paperwork, targets, standard meeting, observations, parent's evening, reports, clubs etc.

    I started my NQT year in September and I did take the old fashioned route of being a complete cow and earned myself the reputation as the harshest teacher in school within a week. This is not something that I am boasting about, but you do not need the kids to love you straight away. They will respect you and like you because they believe that you will teach them to do well, not because you have a friendly relationship/

    Loads of my friends have no support at school. I work in a teeny country secondary school with 20 teachers. 15 of which probably don't like me because I am a young NQT. I have sat in the staffroom on my own and no one has spoken to me for 30 minutes. It sucks, but we need to stick together as NQTs and know that it gets better.

    I would tackle the class yourself. 1. What is your behaviour management policy? Can you have kids removed form the room, can you put them on behaviour report that gets sent to their parents at the end of every week? If not make it yourself and ring every aren't in the class if you have to with detailed notes about the behaviour in the lesson. 2. If you can't put them all in detention after school at once then do it over 2 or 3 days and keep doing it. Alternate with lunchtimes and break times and they will soon understand that you are not to be messed with. 3. Don't get into arguments with them or any debate. If they won't leave your room get a child to go get SLT and then tell that staff member before they come in that the child's behaviour was not in line with the policy and is not to come back into the room. It will be rare that they say no blatantly. 5. Can you do department isolation? Take them out of your lessons for a period of time.

    Seating plans do work. Keep at it and to echo everyone else, you must give it a chance. It does get easier and it is so much easier than the PGCE. Chin up and much love. Be a complete cow.
  20. Hi,
    Thank you for your words of support. I have them in a seating plan (which took 20 minutes to get them seated) and I have revised it.
    I was specifically told to build a relationship with the students due to previous problems, so did not go in quite as hard as I would have liked.
    I asked for students to be removed today and as no one came for ages, sent a student to the classroom next door for help... no one came.
    I have now issued after school detentions to some of the students.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply - it is nice to know that people on here are prepared to offer words of advice and support to each other, I really appreciate it!
    Cow it is...!

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