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Is new teachers getting a hard time normal?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Mr_Madonna007, May 2, 2016.

  1. Mr_Madonna007

    Mr_Madonna007 New commenter

    Wow.... all of your comments of support have made me feel so much better!

    I did think am I the only one feeling like this!

    Yes - they have a consequences board, and have been told to enforce it to the max. So from tomorrow, they won't know what's hit them!

    Today the same names gave me a hard time and I do have them again tomorrow. I've already filled out detention forms with their names on it (to save time and cause less disruption to the class).

    Once they get their 3 strikes (which usually takes about 10 minutes), their out.

    I'll be taking no prisoners (not in such an aggressive way).

    They do get angry when their names are written on this board, and some are making it a competition (I know this was stated in one of the comments made).

    Staff support - it is there, but staff are so busy, I hate disrupting their work load, or asking for support.

    Example: Today we did a test on a play. Out of 26 children, only 6 understood and completed this test. The other 20 were arguing, talking and ignoring my instructions.

    I was actually prepared to quit today ONLY IF no one did the test, or understood it. We've been discussing this play for some time now, so there was no excuse.

    I gave them written key points to consider, and 20 children still asked "what are we doing?"
    and "I don't know what to write" and "I can't remember any of it".

    Thanks to those 6 children who finished the test, the answers they wrote down changed my mind.

    I realised it wasn't me, and those other children were just playing stupid (even though they are not - I've seen their previous work).

    Tomorrow I'm going in guns a blazin!

    Attached Files:

    ssaleh21 likes this.
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Don't forget that same AH has probably walked past your classroom a hundred times and seen excellently behaved classes getting on with work under a fabulous teacher. They came in on that occasions because you were having trouble and stayed to support you for a while. Great leadership on their part!

    Can you go and see them to thank them for their support and ask if they can pop in each time you have the class for a bit of moral support and advice? Bet you ten to one, they tell you what so and sos that class are and tell you a story of their own NQT year with a nightmare class.

    And of course that class behaved with the teacher you went to see. People struggling with the class aren't going to invite you to come and watch are they?!
    sofia_sen likes this.
  3. kazbrum

    kazbrum New commenter

    Just to let you know that I am in the same position. I started at a new school in April, after six years at my previous school (my entire teaching career!). I've gone from feeling like a confident, strong teacher with great classroom management skills, to a total newbie again. My classes have had cover since the end of Jan, and didn't have a positive relationship with the previous teacher, so that, along with starting two thirds of the way into the school year has made it a really tough start. I'm struggling to get them quiet too. All my usual tricks aren't working. But I need to just keep plugging away... Hopefully it will get better soon, for both of us!! Am calling home this week for the major, persistent trouble causers! Good luck!
    Mr_Madonna007 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Been there, done it, survived it. Had a couple of tricky Y8s and Y9 classes last year and it was tough. I learned to always meet at the door, have the starter ready to go and reward good behaviour as much as possible. One group was frankly impossible and my HOD was on-call to remove any troublemakers - I know other, more experienced teachers also had problems with that group, so tried not to take it personally.

    In my new school, it's smaller and only have a few troublesome students - there was an issue with Year 9, but spoke with Head of Year, form tutors and parents - making it clear that if they weren't interested in the subject for GCSE, fine but others were - I also have that group Friday last period every other week, so we agreed that that day could be 'fun', eg.vocabulary games, or on-line research,etc., but that meant they had to focus and do the pure academic work the other classes. Now, they are one of my favourite groups and one or two who weren't thinking about doing the subject at GCSE are doing it along with several who decided ages ago. It takes time (and there is one year 8 group who are very chatty but I use reverse tactics on them, eg. I teach with an almost iron fist but do do a reward game for the last few minutes if we achieve the learning objective).....
    Mr_Madonna007 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Excellent tactics there from an experienced teacher.:D
    sabrinakat likes this.
  6. thenorris

    thenorris New commenter

    Some good advice on this thread.

    Don't be upset, I too started at a new school in January, and it takes a while to find your feet. I teach all of year 9 and I am lucky that they are a good bunch. Some can be tricky, but most are reasonable.

    My advice, lots of praise. Be fair and consistent. I use a technique where if I don't know a students name I call them "Sir" or "Miss", it totally throws them as they think it is funny, but after a while they also realise that it is a question of respect as well. Most students now know that I am a reasonable teacher and subsequently I get that respect back.

    Call for support if you need it. I was trying to do a seating plan with a Yr 9 class and they would not play ball. So I called for the year support and within 10 minutes that class realised that I was not going to take any rubbish from them. I did not lose my temper, just stated my intentions and what I expect from them. Ever since then, no problems.

    Don't get angry, be disappointed with them. Praise them when they do well. Don't be frightened to say that what they are producing is simply not good enough (as odd as that sounds it can work very well when done correctly.)

    Also plan decent interesting lessons. Don't be frightened to try something new with them when you build up a relationship with them.

    Any secondly, enjoy it. In my NQT year I had a difficult class and in the end most of them became the students that I could easily talk to about their behaviour as I had "survived" them.
    Mr_Madonna007 and pepper5 like this.
  7. Red wine fan

    Red wine fan New commenter

    I agree with the other posters. I have been p/t in my current school for almost 14 years and have no discipline issues whatsoever. However, 2 years ago I did some additional hours in a well-respected private school as well, starting in the January. The kids were so challenging, it made me wonder what I was doing wrong!

    However, consistency, praise and a sense of humour got me though it. Years 10 & 11 were fab as they knew I was there as a subject specialist to help with their GCSE. Amazingly enough, most of year 9 came onside within a couple of weeks - I had 3 classes of them on a Friday :eek:. However, year 8 were awful. Not all kids but enough to make it an unpleasant experience. I never felt I "got them" like I did with the older kids. Yet when my 2 term fixed contact came to an end, they were gutted and came to say how sorry they were for being horrible. I do some coaching one evening per fortnight there (just using the premises) and if any of them are hanging around, they come up to say hello.

    Praise the good things, smile and try not to show them that you're rattled. They will soon find something else to occupy them and you'll be able to teach in peace (hopefully).
    Mr_Madonna007 likes this.
  8. thenorris

    thenorris New commenter

    I also recommend getting yourself seen at break and lunchtime.

    When I started my new school I made sure that I was going out to the canteen and was seen interacting with other members of staff. It shows that you are part of the school and often the students will say "Hi" to you.

    Oddly enough, it is usually the most disruptive ones who want your attention.
  9. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Different things work at different places. Ideally your department should discuss classes with you when you start, but these days maybe they are all on computers instead of talking? Told about this by several new teachers in different schools-we used to talk on breaks!
    Mr_Madonna007 likes this.
  10. surf kitty too

    surf kitty too Occasional commenter

    You could try raffle tickets? When I worked in mainstream, I had an absolutely horrendous Y9 class first lesson Monday, last lesson Tuesday after PE (late arriving, hot, sweaty, smelly....) and then Friday last but one....I was getting desperate...

    Lots of phone calls home, detentions they never attended etc. etc.

    I printed up my own raffle tickets and photocopied a huge pile. Anyone entering the room quietly, opening their book, getting on with the starter got a ticket. Naturally the noisy ones wanted to know what they were for...so I explained that if you got a ticket in the lesson, write your name on it, it went into a box, and I would draw out a winner at the end of the lesson for a small prize (chocolate usually or those little bags of Haribo).

    It wasn't perfect, but it did help especially if you lavish loads of tickets on the really good ones in a lesson, some of the others join in. Then I made it a weekly draw.

    Worth a try?
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. Mr_Madonna007

    Mr_Madonna007 New commenter

    After reading all your helpful advice/comments, I'm sorry to hear that many have experienced the same issues.

    This past week was more successful than I anticipated - I really did take no prisoners, and Y9 were shocked as soon as their names were written on the consequences board for any insubordinate behaviour.

    In three days - 8 pupils received detention for answering back, rudeness and disrupting others from learning. Also, 5 pupils were excluded - 4 for swearing directly at a teacher, and 1 for using a mobile phone during a lesson.

    I will be honest - I get nervous when I'm about to teach Y9, but I don't show it. Like all of you have stated, it's important to show strong leadership with no fear, especially being a new teacher, starting mid term, and picking up from where the last teacher left off.

    The next morning after my first post, I arrived at school 45 minutes earlier, so I could have a chat with some of the other teachers. It was a relief to hear they also have "off days", and occasionally have issues with some of their Y8 & Y9 pupils.

    I did admit I was keeping it all bottled up, worried that I would be doubted as a teacher if I said anything.

    I don't think I would have taken these steps if I hadn't read your advice and comments to my first posting.

    There was a big possibility I would have resigned if the situation didn't improve. I'm happy to say this is no longer the case.

    This is a great site for advice and support. It's nice to know we're not alone in this profession.

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