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Knowing when to quit?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by bessiesmith, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    I suggest you cut and paste your post into the behaviour forum - Tom Bennett is good at giving positive, practical advice.
    In my experience, the most important thing for sorting out behaviour is that the students know you mean business. This means that students who are talking over you or being rude ALL receive sanctions. Even if this turns out to be half the class. The first few weeks will be hard work following things up but gradually most of them will come on board. A few might not - but we can all deal with a few difficult students. The important thing is to crack the 'mob' mentality where a few ring leaders have the upper hand over you and the rest of the class look to them rather than you for leadership.
    Don't be frightened about asking for support from Heads of Year or whoever if you need it. This is why those people get paid extra money - to support people like you! For the sake of all your students, but more importantly you, it is vital that you get this issue sorted.
    As to when to call it a day - difficult to answer - but I would give yourself at least until Christmas, if not the end of the year because it takes time for these kinds of issues to improve.
  2. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    Are you in Lancashire by any chance? I won't be more specific but PM me as if you are I suspect we're at the same school (sounds like it anyway)
    some things to consider....
    1. Some children are simply horrible. There is nothing you can do about this, you can only minimise the effects.
    2. Every teacher has a different threshold for what they consider unacceptable. Your collegues may be (at least a little bit) right
    3. The school sanction system may be uneffective (ours looks good on paper)
    4. It seems like your problems are with y10/11 are your lessons with ks3 ok? If they are then you're doing it right.
    5. six weeks of holidays gives children a lot of of things to discuss. I always give the first lesson over to reviewing the previous year or something like that (something that doesn't really take too much attention) They might not settle properly until next week.
    Take advice from other people in school, especially TAs. They see how other teachers control students and will either be full of tips or comfort you by confirming that they are idiots in other lessons too.
    This is all a bit random but some of it might help. Don't make rash descisions... I decided it would be a good idea to train to be an electrician as a route out of teaching a couple of years ago (at a very low point) and now I love the job again but i'm still paying for a course i haven't got time to do :(
    If you want more support feel free to PM me
    Chin Up!
  3. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    My first year was a disaster, literally to the point of failure. I got out of my first school because the place was a mess and I wasn't the right person for it (and sometimes it is a case of right person, wrong school).
    A good start is to pinpoint what you're doing wrong or are unhappy with in your delivery - making the start of the lesson a virtual mantra for example ("coats and bags off, face me..." etc.). Sometimes you do just have to grind some students down. I've slowly turned my behaviour management around - I, too, am not a shouter and tend to have a very patient attitude that my more "shouty" Head of Department has even passed comment on in a positive manner.
    If you're in a middle class type of school, I'd hope that the parents are on the supportive side - phone calls home, pull them out of other lessons just before break/lunch for punishments, after-school detentions and even face-to-face meetings with parents could help with the hard core. Keep on slamming them with your behaviour code - the nasty ones will never get the message, but the reasonable ones will and the rest will know you mean business.

  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Try and stay cool. In year 2, they sometimes give you heaver duty classes than the nqt year.
    Sometimes top sets can take a while to settle - they like a teacher to prove themselves. Give them lots to do (as someone else said)
    Hang in there and give it another year before jumping ship. Try and be smart rather than doing the long hours thing.
    Best wishes,
  5. Thanks everyone for your responses. I find it reassuring that no one has said, "Yes, the job's not for you". I had a shock yesterday, thinking after my exam results that I was somehow going to feel different from when I was an NQT but obviously that didn't materialise.

    Today was a better day. And tomorrow is another day. I haven't had my demanding Year 11s again, but today I had the pleasure of teaching my first ever Year 7s and Year 8s (my NQT timetable was strangely devoid of these) and they were lovely. I was very strict/consistent with the systems today and just need to see that translate to my Year 11s.

    Thanks for the advice about working less hours, I really will try. Marking takes me an absolute age - I teach English and after behaviour management I find accurate marking the most challenging part of the job. But I know I will be a better teacher if I have a life and some rest.
  6. dhurst

    dhurst New commenter

    Wow..... I looked at this post and thought to myself "did I write this". You summed up my feelings in one. Just remember that your not the only one feeling like this. My problem is that I'm too stubbern to ask for help, though after the week I've had I think its time I changed that.
  7. I'm now in my NQT but did a year last year on an 80% timetable as was doing Teach First. My school is quite challenging and not very middle class but here is what I do with pupils like that.

    -set a minimum requirement-work they have to do before they leave your lesson-it's like their ticket out then reward them if they meet this requirement.
    -Have a great reward system - even year 11s love stickers and stamps! I also do a raffle once a month - the weeks leading up to it I give out raffle tickets for them to stick in the back of their books as a reward for behaviour AND completing the work. The more tickets they have the more chance they win. They will want these tickets especially if the prize is chocolate!
    -If you're lucky enough to have parents who care get them involved.
    -In my school we're allowed to keep them for ten minutes at the end of the day, and set break and lunchtime detentions so set those - they will get bored of this before you do!
    -With a top set, especially the older years, they want you to earn their respect which is unfair but that's the way they are. Try to build relationships with them - obviously not at the expense of applying sanctions.

    I know I'm only an NQT and I don't claim to know what I'm talking about as much as others on these pages but last year I was very like you. Constantly punishing myself for not being perfect. I'm a perfectionist and a control freak - two things teaching won't allow you to be! I'm only just learning to let things go and enjoy it. Hope it gets better soon.
  8. I am glad to hear you are feeling much better today. The first couple of years are difficult so hang in there and remind yourself why you wanted to teach.
    As someone wrote, make phone calls home to those that are not responding to your required standards and inform their parents that their grades will suffer. Hopefully, they may come on board.
    For those that are responding, also phone home praising them to their parents. They will like you for this and you will keep them on board. Keep giving praise and maybe a letter home.

  9. 2 weeks in and a lot has improved. I've been an absolute stickler for rewards and sanctions and have been as consistent as a robot!

    Thank you again to everybody who gave advice. I read it all with great appreciation and it really made me feel less alone. It's easy to see you are all in a nurturing profession :)

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