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New teacher with Behaviour issues who after only a week is dreading Monday morning!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Becky15, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. Becky15

    Becky15 New commenter

    Hello Guys
    I have been reading through your forums and have come across some fantastic suggestions. I thought I would post this to see if anybody has had similar issues and therefore knows what I should do next.
    I started teaching full time this week and have found all my classes to be challenging. The school knows it has 'difficult students' and so has a warning, warning then time out system that is well supported. As a new teacher I have tried to follow this system but have found that in my classes I have 3 or 4 students that behave and the rest seem to act as if I am not there. They do not listen to instructions or stay on task. I obviously can't send everyone of them out and also have the added issue of being new to them and therefore not knowing their names fully yet. I know they are testing me but I worry that if i don't get some strategies in place now that deal with the majority and not just the minority then i'll lose them for the year and make my life hell.
    I have tried praising those that have listened. Using names to praise / warn where I have been able to and also sending out the persistent offenders. I also try to give a clear signal that we are ready to start that goes along the line of pens down, facing the front and listening thankyou but they carry on with whatever it is they chose to do regardless.
    The only advice i got from uni on BM is that if i plan super duper lessons for them I wont have issues. This is not the case and i am reluctant to try such lessons with them as I know that they will just excite them further and make the problem worse.
    The thought of facing all this again on Monday and not knowing what to do is making me feel ill and I find it so embarrasing that my class sounds like a riot compared to the rest of the department. If anybody thinks they have any suggestions that might help, I would be very grateful.
    Sazon likes this.
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    You are quite correct in this, well done for realising it. Once you have them settled and behaviour sorted, then go for the fun and exciting. Until then you are the stern, serious teacher who is there to keep order. Doesn't matter how fab your lesson is, if they aren't listening it will be a disaster.

    Don't worry about your department. We have all been new teachers in our first school and every one of us had the rowdiest, naughtiest classes in our department for at least some of the time. If they are good and decent people they will be understanding and supportive. Remember your HOD, HOY, Mentor, colleagues are there to help you. It is their job so ask them.

    Yes you can! They don't get away with it just because 5 other people have misbehaved first. Once you have sent out 6 or 7, they will start to notice and see you mean business. If you give up after 2 or 3 they will carry on.
    Practice a stern voice in front of the mirror today. Do you look convincing? If not, change things. Practice walking about the house with an air of authority. Yes, you will feel daft, but it will make it easier to walk about your classroom in the same way, tomorrow.
    First lesson with each class next week, be utterly stern and serious. Say you were not at all pleased with how things were last week and they are about to change. Make a seating plan and write the names on in the class with them. If you think they will lie or be a pain, then get a senior teacher to sit in with you while you do it. Say that if you have to send out each and every one of them you are prepared to do so, but they need to know right now that they are not twitting about in your lessons. Be very clear and make yourself sound almost cross while you do it.

    Your senior staff would much rather spend time in your classroom this week ensuring this is nipped in the bud, than be picking up the pieces all year because you were too embarrassed to ask for help.

    ACT confident and authoritative. You are the teacher, you CAN do this. Good Luck.
    Sazon likes this.
  3. "The only advice i got from uni on BM is that if i plan super duper lessons for them I wont have issues."
    If you have been told that, you (and, indirectly, your pupils) have been badly let down. As you say, it certainly isn't likely to be true. You are not the first to report being fed that nonsense at Uni. Minnieminx's advice is good. Also if you get an answer from Tom his advice is generally excellent, I have found.
    Good luck!

    PS Almost all teachers find the first year very hard. It's not just you!
  4. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    From my experience even the most well behaved children get over excited during superduper lessons so don't even try! Send out as many as you need to and don't be afraid to just get them sitting working out of a textbook for a few lessons. Write the page numbers on the board and make them get on with it. This way you don't have to worry about making sure they're listening while you're explaining things and you can focus on identifying who are the actual troublemakers and who is just being a sheep. Keep following the school policy. As someone else has already said SMT would rather be supporting you now and having you send out half the class then waiting til Christmas time to pick up the pieces when you go off with stress.
    Do you have the space outside your classroom to make them line up before they come in or do they just arrive as they please? If you have space then make sure they are lined up quietly etc before you let them come in the room. Have an activity on the board ready and then let them in 2 or 3 at a time when you feel they are ready. If you haven't the space then just go with a self explaining activity on the board and the expectation that they come in and do it.
    Good luck! You can do it!
  5. Look to a well structured positive behaviour plan using explicit targeting of appropriate behaviour-it sounds like an attention issue-give attention to the positive otherwise negative attention seekers soak you up and you lose the good ones.I know it's not easy but good luck and stay strong for the good kids in your care
  6. Ouch :s sounds pretty rough! I'm glad you've realised the fallacy of
    the 'plan super duper lessons and you won't have issues' line - too many teachers are fed that by people with little experience of the realities of a modern classroom!
    Some great advice here on consistency, staying positive, and establishing clear guidelines. However, I used to be a teacher, and always found it difficult to actually do this in practice. I left to try to solve the behavior management problem - we created this free resource designed to be used in class that could help: www.classdojo.com. It's free,
    and could be useful for the situation you describe - give it a go, its helped in other situations its been used!!
    Cheers - and good luck, you're doing one of the most important jobs in the world, and we need to do more to support you. Happy to have more of an in-depth discussion with practical tips (including Doug Lemov's book on 49 strategies...) - I'm on sam@classdojo.com

  7. fishtail

    fishtail New commenter

    I would say this is the core of the problem. As others have said, yes, you can send them all out if you like--but you won't have to. I used to say 'that's fine; if a teacher is coming in to take someone out, it's just as easy for them to take another as well' and believe it. If you are supported that is the key. If you are thinking 'I can't send them all out' the students will sense this and play you up even more.
    Secondly, KNOW THEIR NAMES. Knowledge is power, and if you can pick up people by name is gives you much more authority. Get photos of them if you can, sit them in a seating plan, try sitting one you know next to one you don't to make it easier--however you do it, know their names by next lesson.
    In more relaxed circumstances, you can try and learn say five names a lesson if you find it really hard--but I would always advise trying to get them all first time. Otherwise they will feel they can ignore what you are saying, as it's not directed at them.
    Try making them all stand up at the start, in sil;ence. Only when they are quiet can they sit down. This works surprisingly well. students don't like having to stand still...
  8. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Highlighted section. What a load of complete rubbish! I would LOVE 20 minutes with the perpetrators of this complete load of compost. How dare they peddle such rubbish!
    I'm 'old school'-3 years teacher training in a teacher training college leading to a Cert Ed. My tutors were honest about behaviour management and one phrase used there has helped me in my 36 years teaching-before you can train them, you have to tame them.
    Stick to your guns and the school policy. That way, the kids will know who is boss and the school will support you. Yes, it will be scary at first, but if you remain consistent, the kids will get the message. Never vary from your path and the school policy. Also, ask if you can observe the class in another situation and see how they react there. Use the experience of your colleagues. I was always happy to have NQTs pop in to see me doing the lion taming act. Also, remember, you won't always get it right but persevere. Even after many years at the chalk face, I still made mistakes. This is not a defeat, just a little reminder to go back to basics.
    Also, anyone who says they NEVER have problems with classroom management is deluded!

  9. sakurasensei

    sakurasensei New commenter

    "Plan lessons which keep the children busy and not you. You need to practise vigilance and save your energy for behaviour management."

    I have been teaching now for just over a year and feel ready to quit. As the newest member of the department I am given all of the lowest classes on my timetable - all demotivated, appallingly behaved and with zero interest in education - mainly due to the fact that they are from generations of familes who do not value education and have never worked. I used to be a fairly liberal minded person but I feel that teaching has given me an insight into society that I'd wish I'd never encountered.It definitley seems that some people really do expect everything handed to them. I had an understanding that some pupils would be like this when I entered the profession - I just didn't realise that so many people were in this mindset. I was a keen enthusiaitic teacher but the reality is that you can't actually be a teacher when you have a load of poorly parented thugs in front of you. How can I save my energy for behaviour managment when every day that is all I am doing? I have attempted all the postive behaviour managment strategies, praise, various approaches to the subject, active learning - the list goes on. But it is pointless. It is no longer a minority that are badly behaved. I feel like I am not able to be a teacher because parents (if there are any) are failing at doing their jobs. I am supposed to be a subject teacher but I feel that I spend most of my lessons simply trying to socialise these people. I signed up (and worked hard!!) to become a teacher and feel dissappointed in myself when I do do a 'textbook lesson' as I know that is not teaching. This seems to be the only type of lesson when behaviour does not go out the window as it means it is simply mindless copying - these pupils do not want to have to 'think' about anything. Contemplation is alien to them. What I have realised is that schools cannot be regarded as individual entities - teachers cannot be expected to solve the deep rooted problems that our society is now dealing with. It is difficult to now come back and say that I do on occasion find this job rewarding - but I do - usually on the days when these horrendous trouble makers decide to skip school and I get a chance to actually teach those more deserving children.
    When will something actually be done to effectively deal with these families that continue to ruin things for everyone? Schools certainly do not have the power to do so. Why don't the powers that be practice some vigilance?
    Sazon likes this.
  10. moscowbore

    moscowbore Occasional commenter

    Dear sakurasensei,
    Yours is a common predicament. My ultimate solution was to leave England. However, you could try less drastic action. You must have realistic expectations of the bad classes. Plan lessons in tiny chunks. Offer the class a deal. Do this little tiny piece of work for me and I will give you free time. Start with minuscule pieces of work, literally, a few sentences if necessary, Generally, this will get the beasts into the habit of at least doing some work in a lesson. Gradually increase the size of the chunks. This strategy also has the benefit of alleviating some of the stress on you.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------You could also take a lesson to devise a list of rights and responsibilities for the worst classes. Ask the students to write down what they expect from school and how they SHOULD behave. Try steering the discussion towards a student's right to uninterrupted learning. Agree a list of rights and responsibilities with the class. Get the list blown up into a poster and hang it on the wall. Any time a beast kicks off you can start by pointing to the list.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------These strategies have worked for me in the past but not with all classes. The worst behaved classes will always require intervention from Head of Department of Head of Year. Consistent application of the discipline procedures, with management support, is the tried and trusted method.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My final piece of advice is that you should ask for help. Ask your HOD for help first. If no help is forthcoming, then leave. The stress will catch up with you eventually and there lies illness and depression.
  11. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    This is very good advice.
    Indeed, nothing works with every class or every pupil. A differentiated approach is often necessary. Always remember that involving the HoD is NOT a sign of weakness: the message you are giving to the class is that you are part of a team that works together to deal with them, and that gives you strength. Pupils often identify weak teachers as those who close their door and get on with it, no matter what.
    Sazon likes this.

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