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Less teaching, more battling behaviour?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by amrh13, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. amrh13

    amrh13 New commenter

    Anyone else feel like they spend more time battling behaviour in the classroom than they actually do delivering their subject?
    I started at a new school in September and I took over a Y11 class that had a lot of supply last year. They missed a lot of content and I'm trying to fill in the gaps and get them to pass. But, they just don't seem to care. They constantly talk when I'm talking, they swear, they answer back, and they do very little work.
    I follow the school's behaviour policy (which is difficult... it's very ambiguous), but the students don't care about sanctions.
    I'm at wits end! And it's not just Y11, it's other year groups too. So many of them seem to have no interest in their education!
    Does anyone feel like this?
    Any advice?
  2. geordiepetal

    geordiepetal New commenter

    I'm sorry, I haven't any advice for you but I just wanted to let you know that I can sympathise with you. I found exactly the same, this was one factor that led to me quitting teaching in August after only 4 years.
    NotAPowerRanger, sebedina and pepper5 like this.
  3. amrh13

    amrh13 New commenter

    I've only been teaching 4 years and I'm thinking of quitting too. What are you doing now?
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. geordiepetal

    geordiepetal New commenter

    I've gone back to sales/account management which I did for 10 years before retraining. It's not what I studied all those years to do and it's a pay cut even from M2 but at least I don't feel anxious and ill every time I think of work! The grief I can occasionally get from customers is nothing compared to the behaviour I encountered in school.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do :)
    sebedina, pepper5 and henrypm0 like this.
  5. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    It's endemic in schools.
    I've been teaching well over 20 years and am quitting this year.
    Just had enough.
    If any so-called behaviour expert tells you any different then they are in cloud cuckoo land!
    geordiepetal, sebedina and pepper5 like this.
  6. captain scarlet

    captain scarlet Established commenter

    Yep, that just about sums it up.
    Sometime though you do get great classes, you can actually teach, pupils are engaged and it is fun.
    These I have found are few and far between.
    I have done supply for over 10 years, some places I know are geat and I really enjoyed.
    But as you state, crowd control is becomming part of the remit.

    I have found that the more disruptive the group, the less background info on a topic they have, thus I CAN'T DO IT, becomes I will do anything to stop this happening.

    One school I worked, pupils actually set themselves target to how many negatives they could achieve in a day.

    When they leave school, they are not equiped for the outside world. This leads to a shortahe in various sectors.

    I did a couple of sessions in PHSE, I got kids to write down what they wanted to do when left school.
    We then did a research, to see what qualifications they needed.
    We also did interviews, and the companies who came in did not hold punches, they told them as it was.
    Maybe you could try this approach, and also give them a lesson countdown until they sit their exams.
    I think it is about 19 weeks until the exam season is upon us again.

    Stress this point, have it as a countdown on your board, mark off each session as they enter.

    Yes, I agree with other commenters on this topic. I to am winding down.
    leaving altogether quite soon
    pepper5 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  7. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    The problem is that Teaching and Learning are meant to go hand in hand. You do the teaching, they do the learning. It's meant to be a partnership, with effort from both sides. It frequently isn't. You can do your bit, but if they're not willing to uphold their end of the bargain it doesn't work. Then strangely, the fault is not theirs, but yours.

    I may have done a lot of things in my life, but sadism and necrophilia were never on my list, so flogging a dead horse never held much appeal.

    I remember the look on their faces when they found out I was leaving at February half term. A good number of the students had already done enough to secure good grades, and could spend the remaining time improving where necessary. Others had wasted time they now wished they could reclaim.

    Those who had listened and participated, fully understood why I was leaving. Those that hadn't, suddenly wished they had.

    Life = ( Choices + Consequences )

    It's not rocket science.
  8. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    It's dispiriting isn't it.

    I wish I could say there are strategies to use - and of course, I'll try - but we're seeing this written all over these forums.

    I personally am also not enjoying my current teaching post for the same reason.

    All of the strategies we discuss on here, from contacting home and giving detentions to robust reward systems, essentially fail when the child themselves simply isn't interested in learning. Even if they end up sitting quietly when sanctions are used consistently and teachers are fully supported by SLT, this still isn't the goal. I would hope that rewards could work to engage some children but I know from experience that there are many for whom they don't work. I think the comments from @captain scarlet are useful as real life examples of what companies want and expect, will be effective for some teenagers. However, increasingly teachers seem to be complaining of a total disregard for the teacher, the rules, and the opportunity to gain an education.

    So, what can we do?

    Individually, we can keep focusing on those students that we can help. We can do our best to minimise and manage poor behaviour and prevent it disrupting the chances of the "good" students. We can try to get through to those we can.

    But we have to also keep challenging schools, and the government, to make changes.

    It feels, to me, that the changes to curriculum and exam processes alongside the devaluation of the arts and creativity and total pressure on Maths and English, is making kids unhappy. I get the sense that at 11 when you start Secondary school, you understand whether or not you fit with the current definition of success - passing Maths and English - and if you don't, the school start taking away subjects you like in order for you to have intervention. For my subject (and I can't speak for others) the curriculum is not appropriate and it is a real challenge to make it relevant and interesting. I find it boring a lot of the time and that is so disappointing because there could be much more interesting content and assessment methods. The lack of coursework or controlled assessments makes passing an impossibility for some kids yet there's no value placed on other achievements.

    This is just my opinion and I'd be interested to hear your opinions.

    I'm not excusing the behaviour and I see this as a serious issue. However, I personally feel many schools have a negative air about them at the moment - the reasons above added to stressed teachers and unhappy children - is perhaps a reason why it gets started. Students feel like failures and this leads to disengagement. Being told they'll have to take Maths and English again and again is not a motivational factor and in some cases it simply prevents children accessing something they would enjoy much more. Of course, our students should have an adequate level of numeracy and literacy but I don't see the current GCSEs providing these useful functional skills.

    Back to the behaviour - keep focused on those you can help and maybe consider what might be causing the poor culture within your school. Is it anything you could do anything about with some help? This is a huge task but trying to look for reasons and potential strategies might help you remain positive.
    jaguarette, sebedina and pepper5 like this.
  9. captain scarlet

    captain scarlet Established commenter

    Continuing on from my last post.
    I always try to have FUN, dose not go down too well with SMT. but the kids actually learn from the fun bits, when they actually think, they are not learning,

    I have taught science for around 20 years, I found that the pupils although not liking the subject science, engaged with the lesson.
    we 'played' a lot, it was fun, and the kids learnt. [blow my own trumpet], all pupils I taught achieved or bettered their targets.

    Yes I missed the starter, and quite often the roundup plenary [I hate that word].

    The kit would be out, I gave some instruction, the pupils learnt from their mistakes.

    Year 11 last year for example, we had done therory on diodes.
    Their remit, they were travelling salespersons in electronic componants.
    They were shipwrecked, they had to make a beacon.
    They only had diodes and wires and a collection of metals zinc, magnesium, iron and copper with them,everything else had been lost.

    As it was a desert island they also had some food, citrus, non citrus.

    Make a beacon I said and set them off in groups.

    The diodes dont work sir.
    Oh well you will just die then

    I've got it to work sir
    What did you do?

    I turned the diode around.
    Good, so you did actually learn, you will live.
    jaguarette and NotAPowerRanger like this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Sarah

    Thanks for your post.

    I agree with all you write about the curriculum - especially about how some students are faced with the impossible in connection with passing exams.

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