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Laissez Faire

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by bessecar, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. bessecar

    bessecar New commenter

    Dear Tom,

    I've been genning up on behaviour management, and there are a few themes : sort out your seating, learn students names, set up class rules, etc, etc.

    I'm working in a school with a laissez faire approach to headship, management and academics. The school was once being run under a benevolent dictatorship, that of the founder. She,sadly, passed away and gradually I've seen a huge change.

    What does laissez faire mean in this case?

    The teacher does not have a classroom, the class does not (necessarily) have a class teacher. The students stay in the same classroom for compulsory subjects (maths, English) and move from class to class for optional subjects, of which there are 6 (I think) splitting into various heterogenous groups. Attendance is taken randomly - that is, it is taken at some time, any time during the day.

    The result is, the seating pattern changes frequently. It's taken me ages to learn the names of all 44 students. There are no class rules. It takes at least 5 - 10 minutes to settle a class down. Teaching successfully seems to be dependent on charisma, past record, personality, you name it.

    Most students will end up taking private tuitions in all subjects. This is damaging classroom ethos and good practice. Those providing tuitions, many of them, are the same teachers as in the school itself. This, of course, has an effect on teacher morale and the status of individual teachers. (This year I have refused to take any students privately from the school- yes, I used to be one of the offenders,:eek: but the students will end up going somewhere else anyway - maybe to a teacher in my school)

    Now I can shout as well as anyone, get them to "behave", throw a few time-spending activities at them but, in the end it's not teaching.

    How on earth do you manage behaviour under such a set up?
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    You don't. You get a new job.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi bessecar

    I am inclined to agree with Vince; however, jobs are hard to come by and you still have to manage while you find something else. In the end, I think you will probably have to move on.

    In the meantime, you could have "routines" instead of "rules" and run your classes as far as possible along those lines.

    Surely no one could argue with the 3 routines of

    Follow instructions fast
    Stay on Task
    Work without disturbing others

    While the students are in your class, you are the manager of that room and the students in it. Really, you should have a class list for the students you teach, but if you can't get one, write a list with notes by it what each student looks like.

    No matter what other teachers do, explain that for your classes you have these routines in place so everyone can learn.

    Do the usual things: don't allow the students to speak over you. While you are giving instructions they must listen. Ensure everyone is seated and looking and listening before you start the lesson.

    Try to focus the class on the work as far as possible and don't get drawn into the politics of what teacher is teaching what to whom and so forth or whatever the distractions must be.

    Over prepare: have so many things they have to complete that there is no time to be distracted.

    All of the above will work if you have support and systems in place. How it might work in a setting you are in I do not know, but an interesting one indeed.

  4. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Ye Gods!!!
    I was always taught that a register was a legal document which must be kept by law. I have always taught in institutions where we had to know where students were at any given time of day. Sort of useful if there is a fire or something. Not sure how your set up would stand with an Ofsted inspection.
    I teach in FE. We always wondered how the kids got to be so badly behaved, disorganised and poorly educated before they got to us. Your post explains a lot.
  5. varcolac

    varcolac Occasional commenter

    Believe Mr Bessecar works in an international school based on his location. I'm not sure if such regulations are the same the world over, but they do seem common bleedin' sense. Even in the sometimes troubled waters of international schooling, his situation does sound unworkable. I'd up sticks and change schools if I had to deal with what sounds like a right royal pain in the unmentionables.
  6. bessecar

    bessecar New commenter

    Thanks Vince_Ulam, pepper 5, saluki and varcolac for your replies. I'll try to get back for a longer reply- off to school now. (It's 6:29 am here, so I'm getting ready)
    I'm in an international school, but under the umbrella of a very large UK Booard - not sure if that has any bearing.
    A new job is not an option: if you peer at my picture you'll see I'm no spring chicken - unless by some miracle I get another job here.
  7. bessecar

    bessecar New commenter

    Well,pepper 5, I've tried you excellent advice for some time and, no, even the three routines don't work.

    Students continually interrupt me and others in the class by speaking their mother tongue, which I have basic knowledge of. I've tried to stop this, but to no avail. I'm the only "white fella" in the school so I feel at a disadvantage over this, as all other teachers can catch students if they are bothered, but most teachers teach in their first language. We are supposed to be an English medium school.
    Just this week the principal referred to me as the white Caucasian. So there you go.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Without the support of the principal or head teacher it is going to be hard no matter what you try as the students need to know you are supported and there will be sanctions if they don't follow the school's rules. Can you discuss your difficulties with the principal?
  9. bessecar

    bessecar New commenter

    I think I'll try to concentrate on moving on...
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Probably your best option. Trust you find something better in terms of management. You are trying to teach in an impossible situation.

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