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Just started in a new school - UKS2 nightmare behaviour - help!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by nooty, May 1, 2011.

  1. Hi!
    I've just started teaching Year 6 on a maternity contract in a school that's riddled with behaviour problems, and is in a pretty poor-economic area. The kids have been fab so far when I've been in supporting their normal class teacher. Then she left, and I took them for the first time. Argh! There were two fights, of which I had to stand between, plus one kid who thinks disrupting and speaking out loud constantly is ok.
    For the last year I've been going round the city doing behaviour intervention work with some really difficult children of primary age, but these lot? I've honestly not seen anything like it!
    One kid just speaks constantly, puts on accents, talks out loud, interrupts, etc etc. He also hates another kid in the class and reacts to ANYTHING he does and makes it apply to him - i.e. the other kid answers a question, the 'highly-strung' one kicks off, saying he's doing it to make him look stupid.
    The other two boys who fought - one of them just doesn't want to do any work, full stop. The other wound the other boy up, but generally was fine in the class.
    95% of the class were fine - just chatty, because when something kicked off, they'd all start chatting... understandably, but otherwise, great!
    The behaviour policy at school isn't overly clear - I can't send them out the room without being accompanied by an adult. I can't send them into another classroom. There's detentions, removal of golden time, notes in planners, etc. My concern is that NOTHING I learnt on my year of doing behaviour work seemed to have an impact on these four boys. It was so frustrating. They just wind each other up and deliberately set up situations where they can have fist fights.
    When I spoke to the Head, as I did straight away, he said whenever they've had supply in, they've generally run them ragged - the whole school has been disrupted on some occasions, and they've had up to 8 kids being sent out. He says they're testing me to see if I'll stay - and once they accept that, they'll be absolutely fine. He knows what ******** they can be (had no end of problems all year), but I don't want to have to put the rest of the class (and myself!) through two weeks of nightmare lessons because some kids feel like they need to test me.
    Not sure what I'm expecting to hear in replies - some advice perhaps, or strategies? I'm just finding it annoying that I've worked with some hugely difficult children over the last year, and been really successful, but when I go back to classroom teaching, it all kicks off and I ultimately feel quite vulnerable (they're SO volatile!).
    Thanks for reading :)
     
  2. Hi!
    I've just started teaching Year 6 on a maternity contract in a school that's riddled with behaviour problems, and is in a pretty poor-economic area. The kids have been fab so far when I've been in supporting their normal class teacher. Then she left, and I took them for the first time. Argh! There were two fights, of which I had to stand between, plus one kid who thinks disrupting and speaking out loud constantly is ok.
    For the last year I've been going round the city doing behaviour intervention work with some really difficult children of primary age, but these lot? I've honestly not seen anything like it!
    One kid just speaks constantly, puts on accents, talks out loud, interrupts, etc etc. He also hates another kid in the class and reacts to ANYTHING he does and makes it apply to him - i.e. the other kid answers a question, the 'highly-strung' one kicks off, saying he's doing it to make him look stupid.
    The other two boys who fought - one of them just doesn't want to do any work, full stop. The other wound the other boy up, but generally was fine in the class.
    95% of the class were fine - just chatty, because when something kicked off, they'd all start chatting... understandably, but otherwise, great!
    The behaviour policy at school isn't overly clear - I can't send them out the room without being accompanied by an adult. I can't send them into another classroom. There's detentions, removal of golden time, notes in planners, etc. My concern is that NOTHING I learnt on my year of doing behaviour work seemed to have an impact on these four boys. It was so frustrating. They just wind each other up and deliberately set up situations where they can have fist fights.
    When I spoke to the Head, as I did straight away, he said whenever they've had supply in, they've generally run them ragged - the whole school has been disrupted on some occasions, and they've had up to 8 kids being sent out. He says they're testing me to see if I'll stay - and once they accept that, they'll be absolutely fine. He knows what ******** they can be (had no end of problems all year), but I don't want to have to put the rest of the class (and myself!) through two weeks of nightmare lessons because some kids feel like they need to test me.
    Not sure what I'm expecting to hear in replies - some advice perhaps, or strategies? I'm just finding it annoying that I've worked with some hugely difficult children over the last year, and been really successful, but when I go back to classroom teaching, it all kicks off and I ultimately feel quite vulnerable (they're SO volatile!).
    Thanks for reading :)
     
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I think I would spend a fair bit of time with the class talking about being there long term and setting out my rules, rewards and sanctions. 10-15 mins every single morning. Also keep talking about things that will happen much later in the term, so they know you are staying there.

    I would also have these 4 boys by themselves, ask the head about using assembly time as a one off if not then lunchtime will have to do. I'd set up a star chart type thing with them. Give them each a couple of targets, focussing in on what they need to do better. Use this for them to earn their golden time.

    For all the children be very clear about behaviour. Reward and openly praise those who ignore the bad behaviour and interruptions to continue working. Punish those who encourage the bad behaviour just the same as those behaving badly.

    Things are harder in a classroom than in 10-1 work, just because you have more demands on your time and attention. Those who actually need 1-1 attention cannot have it from their classteacher and so behave badly to get as near to it as they can.

    Hang in there and you will be fine!
     
  4. Have you tried the 'secret student' positive initiative? i.e. one of them is the student to be monitored for the day, if that individual behaves well then the whole class gets a reward, if not then it's not granted - obviously they have no idea as to who the student is at the beginning of the day, you pick a name out of a hat but don't announce who it is to the kids. You'd have to judge if you think a bit of team morale would work with them, if not then the rest of the class will be punished unnecessarily. It's pulled split groups together for me before. Just an idea, sounds like you've done and know all the other stuff so apart from perseverance........
     
  5. dc521

    dc521 New commenter

    Right, time to turn this round:
    Expecations must be strongly enforced in black and white. Don't tolerate a thing that is out of line. THe class either behaves or faces a consequence. They might be in a 'poor' area but in the real world, I wont take **** from anyone.
    Get the HT / SLT onside now. Time to bluntly suggest that the behaviour policy needs a rethink. Also, point out that unless there is support for the class to ensure progress, you can not teach safely.
    Strategies:
    The child that does the silly accents / disturbs lessons. Make the HT come to the room to collect the little darling. End of story. No 'I don't sort out behaviour conversations' to be tolerated. Unless you have immediate SLT back up, then you can not settle this child down. Get the parents in now. Point out that this is unacceptable. Monitor the child's behaviour on a tracking sheet that they have to take to HT and home every night or a home / school book. Be very clear with the child: this is silly behaviour that will stop. There's no rewards for being 'good' for 1 minute. Praise the good work and mature behaviour only. Also, sit the child by himself and close to the door.
    As for the ones that fight ... see above. I would also suggest that you insist on restraint training to deal with fights.
    Work refusals. Write it in their books and on lesson plans. They can then sit with the HT / SLT and complete the work. If they don't - parents in. No 'ifs' or 'buts' or 'he's had a bad day' or 'he's got problems'. If the work is at an appropriate level for the child, they do it.
    Keep a log for the whole class - it will help you when you're asking the HT / SLT for action to be taken to ensure that health and safety, learning and anything else is met.
    Seating plan is a must for this class. Rows facing the front? U shape seating plan? They sit where you want them.
    Outright bribery sometimes works. "Oh look, it's a nice sunny day. Would you all like 5 minutes outside in the sun?" Works a treat and those that can't get the reward can stay inside and miss out!
    Finally, you have to remember that you are dealing with a whole class and not in smaller groups (if I understand your previous job). Motivate the whole class every morning with a positive message (i relaly enjoyed marking all of your ... ) and also challenge them "Can you show me the best possible behaviour today?".
     
  6. Consistency, communication and consequences.
    Be consistant in your approach to all of the children, no one gets any special measures, all bad behaviour is addressed or all bad behaviour is ignored, same goes for positive behaviour. If you consider punishment is applicable then make sure it is not seen by the child/ren as a reward (being removed from a class they do not enjoy).
    Communicate clearly the expectations for the time period. Use pictures and written word to reinforce the expectations, leave these fully visible through the time period.
    Make sure the children know the consequences of positive and negative behaviour. Rewards for either teams or individuals are great as well as verbal rewards that the whole calss can hear. Every child is good at something and should be rewarded for trying as well as completing tasks out of their usual comfort zone.
    There are also some 'magic' tricks you can try that will give you the edge. this one is simple and effective. Pre-plan it though. Take out three random objects from a drawer or box (a rule, keys, box of pens) Talk about one of the objects, (you will need pens for the next task, my favourite pen is the red one, which pen would you like to use) Then as a child to pick one item. They may pick the pens or trying to be clever pick the rule as you havent mentioned it. On the rule is a printed lable saying look in the envelope. In the envelope is a note saying 'I knew you would pick the rule' If the child does pick the pens, on the box is a note saying 'I knew you would pick me'. If they pick the keys, on the fob is a note saying 'I knew you would choose me'. Children in the class now think you are able to read their minds.
    There are others as well.
    Good luck
     
  7. I've just come back to this after over 2 years - I never posted to say thank you! Your ideas worked brilliantly. I carried on in much the same way as I had but by changing just a few things, they came round so quickly and it was actually quite enjoyable with them! I used the line, "You can act how you want but I'm not going anywhere. You choose how you want the next few months to pan out. You choose positive or negative consequences," a few times...;)

    The one who kept putting on accents and setting up fights, well, he ended up being a little like my personal protector and could be heard numerous times (if anyone else played up), "Have a bit of respect for yourself and her - she doesn't mess you about, so don't mess her about!". One of the boys came to me at the end of the year and said I was the only one who'd given him a chance and had put up with him. **gulp**

    It ended up that the DHT was sending kids to my room when they were playing up. Not sure how that works..!

    Anyway, my three month contract became a year, which became permanent. I'm known for behaviour management (regularly given the 'violent' kids which isn't always fun..). I rarely have behaviour issues... Now's the test to get them to be perfect when I'm NOT there....

    I'm doing the mind-reading stuff tomorrow with my class - I can't wait! I never tried it before, so now is the chance.

    Thanks again for all your advice, albeit rather delayed...!
     
  8. Forgot to say that another of the boys drew a beautiful picture of the whole class for me to keep with a motto of respect....ahhhh!!! Heart-warming! Shame they're all moody teenagers now who grunt at me in passing, haha!
     

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