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Made a big error of judgement

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by darrylwestell, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. I need to get my thoughts out here- I have been a CS since Sept. and I am beginning my GTP next Sept. It's been incredibly challenging, dealing with so much **** and feeling like I am making headway only to have a lesson where no one listens, paper flies around the room and I get called a Fu***ng C**k S***er( which I'm proud to say I handled professionaly, dispassionaltely and appropriately.)
    But the other day I broke the cardinal rule: never get personal, never lose your cool and never become invloved in a verbal scrap in front of the class. I broke all three when I lost my temper with an annoying year 8 kid who I'm afraid caught me on a very bad day and at the end of my tether with a class that had tested even the most accomplished teacher in the school that morning.
    I called him "a plonker", told him to" shut up" and said I "did not like him today". The boy took umbridge-which I understand and I was called into the HT's office to answer the challenge from the boy and several of the good lads in the class, who had indeed confirmed that I lost my cool and even called him a "little brat."
    Look, maybe it was a combination of poor behaviour and my expectations(normally a good class) being dashed; therefore wrongfooting me, together with my temper getting the best of me. I apologised to the boy concerned- told him I was out of order and I did not mean to upset him. I had a moment where the red mist descended and I feel ashamed. For no matter how poorly behaved these kids are; they are just that; kids. And we are the adults and we are supposed to hold the moral highground. And I failed in that obligation; I became nasty for 5 seconds.
    Also, I am rather miffed by my HoD, who took the complaint straight to SLT rather than sit down with me; something I would have thought would have been more appropriate?
    Maybe I'll be sacked; maybe I'll quit, maybe teaching 'aint for me. Or maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill?
    Your thoughts would go a long way in helping me arrive at some perspective, if you're so inclined?...
    Thanks in advance...
  2. Firstly, do you think you have a anger issue? Or is this a stress related response. Either way I would suggest you get some professional help. This is not a judgement on you, but it may swing things in your favour if further action is taken against you. I would question the support you are getting why has someone (ie your HoD) noticed and step up to support you.
    Inform your union, but I think you need to lie low and say nothing and let things blow over. We all have these hiccups they shouldn't destory careers if it is a very rare occassion. You are a baby teacher and those with more experience should support you and help you develop statergies so this doesn't happen again.
    I really hope these professionals help you through this and don't coddle this child. I'm sure you were justified in what you said ( that is not to say you should have said it). Kids need to realise when they are being obnoxious and how this affects them when other think this about them.
    I hope this all blows over for you.
  3. Thanks for your reply Phie.
    Firstly, I do not consider myself to have an anger issue- i'm 29 and this is the first time i've ever really spoken out of turn-so I would be justified in thinking it was just one of those occasions where we resort to being human and falable.
    Your advice about laying low- I agree. In fact you know what? Im just going to do the job I'm employed to do at the moment-CS, and stop trying to be all over the job-i'm not paid for it, trained for it or ready for it-yet.
    But I am reflecting all the time and becoming more experienced. So what doesn't kill us...

  4. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    Just wanted to say that I had one of those days yesterday, when I could have quite happily launched the year 8 boy through the closest window......
    I didn't, but followed the proper procedures and take solace in the fact that he will be spending an hour in detention on Monday due to the appropriate sanctions being applied.
    I have seen a colleague do something similar to yourself, and although he did have his knuckles rapped, I don't think anything more serious came out of it. He definitely laid low and, like you said, did the job he was paid for and just kept quiet.
    I'm hopeful that as a newish teacher you'll be supported with this, rather than made a victim of the system.

  5. First of all, don't be too harsh on your HoD. S/he was probably following protocol knowing there was a complaint coming. It's highly unlikely you'd be sacked for this and it sounds like you've taken it on the chin and everybody will move on from here.
    What does surprise me though is that you seem to have accepted that being verbally abused is part of the job. It most certainly is not and there are lots of schools out there where verbal abuse of the kind you describe is most certainly not the norm.
  6. I am an NQT who did GTP last year, so hope you don't mind the comments on this thread.
    Interestingly, a few weeks ago we had a behaviour 'expert' in from the local authority to talk to us about exactly the point the OP made about the children being 'the children' and the teacher being 'the adult' and as teachers making sure that we stay calm and react appropriately, remembering that we are the adult.
    Now we all *know* this and personally I found the whole thing rather condescending and irritating as we had asked the senior leadership team for INSET in behaviour management and how we make the behaviour policy work in our own classroom, not to come in and tell us what we already know.
    But I digress, as I said, we all *know* this, but sometimes putting it into practice is extremely difficult. We get tired and teachers, like any other human being can get grump when tired. There are the disruptive children, who senior management think will behave fantastically when confronted with super, all singing all dancing lessons and a positive behaviour management system - unfortunately we all know this isn't reality when confronted with special needs child who is terrified of writing and will try every aversion tactic in the book to avoid writing (preferring to get out of the lesson) or the child who seeks any attention and will go straight for the negative attention and god help me I try and find some positive attention to praise but they don't make it easy - we all know the kids who do not respond in the manner the behaviour 'experts' say they should or the ones who want to make something microscopic into something the size of the Asian continent.
    We are only human and there are days when I wonder why I bother... especially when the parent of the disruptive child persists in insisting it is "not my <insert child's name here>" or they say "he is just like that at home" - to which I so want to respond, "so parent him then!" Or when a lesson I know would have been a good lesson has been disrupted (yet again) by the same child who has disrupted it for the last 4 days/weeks/months. The staff all children know as a trouble maker. I just frustrates me that think it ok to disrupt other children's learning and in some schools, because of positive behaviour strategies (which do have their place and work fantastically with most kids) means that there are no sanctions for those who misbehave - a chat from the head and told not to do it again then sent back to my class. Sure they behave for the rest of the day but return to making the same poor choices the next day.
    Back to the OP - we are all human and I doubt anyone would hold this against you. Children need to understand that their behaviour does affect others. And whilst we all know it isn't personal when you have been working hard for that particular class or been up late planning, sometimes it feels personal. I think we invest a lot of ourselves when we teach.
    I think all you can do now, as others have suggested, is lay low and let it blow over and I am sure it will. And learn from it. Part of training is the learning process and we all make mistakes - isn't that what we allow the children to do so why we are all so hard colleagues who make mistakes is a mystery (sorry but sometimes teachers are so highly critical of each other and eager to express that in staff rooms to other colleagues that it makes me sad).
    I suspect your HOD was following procedures and was also covering his own back and if a parent had complained then the school can say they had dealt with it - which they have. It isn't easy, sometimes, to remember we are the adult and to stay calm and sometimes the 'experts' need to stop stating the obvious and give teachers strategies to help them. And teachers should not be forced to teach with disruptive elements in their classes day in and day out and it is time the education system did something instead of keep putting them all back. OFSTED want good teaching - so deal with the daily disruptions from those who don't want to be in school and make the parents responsbile while you are at it! (Sorry just very cross with a behaviour policy that doesn't work at my present school)
  7. thank you so much for the detailed repies everyone - they have helped me to gain a sense of perspective and move on, which I will and I'll be far more prepared for this eventuality in future.
  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    You don't have that luxury as a teacher though. While we all have days where we could cheerfully tell the lot of the to go forth and multiply, professionalism needs to take over and nothing remotely close can ever come out of our mouths.

    Telling a child or class to 'shut up' would get knuckles rapped in many schools. Calling children names and saying we don't like them would certainly result in some action, though not likely sacking for the first offence.

    While you don't necessarily need counselling or help, you certainly need to see this as very serious and to be absolutely sure that you can manage as a teacher without ever reacting in such a way.
  9. Whilst I agree with you completely Minnie, you only have to read this forum to see that NQTs are not getting the support they should be getting in quite a lot of schools so many are being left to just 'get on with it' with little support on behaviour management in tough schools (not tarring all schools but induction isn't what it should be in some schools). And I think any NQT worth their salt knows exactly what you are saying about professionalism, rising about it, keeping calm, yadda, yadda, yadda but when confronted with difficult classes/children these are strategies that need to be learned - they are not second nature to most of us, and they needed to be adapted between different classes as the dynamics are different between each class.
    I can relate to where the OP as coming from as an NQT who has had a baptism of fire in my present school. Luckily I have had a lot of experience prior to training to teach in a referral unit and a couple of difficult secondary schools so I have had an opportunity to observe different stratigies in action. I have also had a fair amount of behaviour management training in various schools (all with different difficulties). Not every NQT has had this experience and I sometimes feel we are sending NQTs, like lambs to the slaughter, with some classes/schools. There is a student at my present school who is also being 'left to get on with it' which is fine as we are learning lots, but it means we have made mistakes along the way...
    I agree with you, there isn't room in teaching for these mistakes to creep in and we need to be professional but this is where support systems in schools need to be in place to support people who are finding a certain child or certain children difficult. We all know it isn't personal, but try telling that to the adult who is personally insulted by a particular child, or to the adult who has been assaulted by a child they then have to have back in their class. All I will say is some schools have better support systems than others, better SLTs who support behaviour management, better behaviour management policies.
    And the OP did say that he was waiting to start a GTP and is currently working as a cover supervisor - at this point I would bepondering the sens of putting people in as cover supervisors who do not have the teaching qualifications and training, because it is tough enough managing behaviour when you have.
  10. Doddy-

    Much obliged- it's now a week since the day i snapped and i have reflected on it and learned from it- i have made lots of progress as a result of it and am glad to report that its all blown over and have since had two lessons witht he boy concerned and all is well. He's rather well behaved now! Not that that would be a justified means to an end, you understand.

    Many thanks,

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