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New Temporary Teacher needs behaviour advice/tips!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by laucat, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. laucat

    laucat New commenter

    I have started my first week in a temporary/supply post and am struggling with behavioural issues constantly. I have moved pupils to another classroom, changed the seating, followed the school procedures (issuing punishment exercises and managing referrals) as well as reiterating the classroom rules.....though I am STILL experiencing problems! I am even getting cheek and refusal of instructions from S5 pupils which has really surprised me. Is anyone else facing the same situation or experienced this as a new or supply teacher? I am getting tremendous support from the department and PT but I feel I am getting taken the mick out of because I am a new teacher. I also feel I am having to constantly raise my voice to get the attention of the class and be taken seriously (although even then I still feel I'm laughed at when I do!) My usual 'back to the class' methods even with countdowns with S1 etc do no seem to work. Any advice or tips would be great, thank you!
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi laucat

    I really do sympathise with you since as a supply teacher for seven years, I can say you are not alone and what you describe is very typical and you are taking all the correct steps and there are some difficult classes that no matter what you do, you don't see much change and it takes a lot of effort and sheer determination to stick with it. There are no easy answers but the following may help you manage to stay sane even if the behaviour does not instantly change:

    1. Have three simple rules that make it easy for you and everyone to understand what is expected. These are taken from the book Taking Care of Behaviour by Paul Dix:

    1. Follow instructions fast
    2. Stay on task
    3. Work without disturbing others

    Put these up on the board/wall somewhere where you can refer to them easily.

    2. Write some scripts ( also provided in the book) to enable you to stay calm and you know exactly what you are going to say: "Emily, I saw you throw a pencil across the room. You chose to break rules 2 and 3. This is a first warning. I need you to start your work". Walk away and let Emily decide. If she continues to be off task, move up your sanctions to: " Emily, you are off task. I saw you throw the blue tack onto the ceiling. This is your second warning. You are able to make intelligent choices. Give Emily take up time, if she continues to be off task, then follow the school's procedures for removing her.

    Whatever you do, do not write names up on the board for the ones misbehaving since that only creates and audience and more conflict about what or what is not fair etc...

    Have some routines set up if at all possible if you are in the same room:

    Students arrive, take their seats quickly, get out their exercise books, write the date

    If you possibly can, have something on the whiteboard/PowerPoint for them to copy and think about while you take the register and get everyone settled.

    Praise the ones who are doing what you have asked them to do.

    Although it is EXTREMELY difficult to do and believe me I have been there, keep your voice levels moderate and speak in a business like, but manner. Even if you are tempted to raise your voice, don't.

    On your desk, have a class list and as the lesson progresses, make notes against the names and use some short hand:

    WW = working well
    OT = Off task
    CO=Calling Out
    TM= Taking Mick/Rude
    P= Polite
    HO= Helping Others

    At the end of the lesson/day you can then see where you need to having a mediation meeting with the students who are causing the trouble and whereby they can be spoken to about how their behaviour has certain effects. Detentions alone will not be enough, since the students need to understand how their behaviour is affecting you and the others in the class and why it is not acceptable and agree to some sort of change. You can meet these students with their Heads of Year/Hod For the students with positive comments, you can send postcards home.

    Try to stay calm and see this behaviour for what it is:

    The class may not have had any routines or rules for some time. Do you know why they have a supply teacher? You are new, so they are testing you to see what you are made of and some of it is others following the crowd.

    There are some classes you may be able to work with and once they get to know you, will respond. However, some classes are much more difficult to get into a routine.

    Somehow ensure the focus is more on the work than it is on you.

    Keep them busy with things they can do easily until you get them to a point where you can teach new ideas/concepts. Are you in primary or secondary?

    Don't allow them to see that you are rattled since that will be giving them ammunition to shoot you with.

    On Monday, I would see if you could arrange to have SLT in the class with you as you explain that you are going to make some changes to ensure everyone has a positive learning experience. Outline your new routines/rules/ expectations. I would even ask them to come in and stand behind their seats in silence until you invite them to sit down if you think the school will allow it.

    Once week is not long at all and you may find it takes a couple more to get things to a more settled atmosphere. It is something like a tornado you have walked into and you have my sympathies. The kids will say " No one loves us, everyone hates us" Mrs X left and so did Mr Z. Don't blame us. We are just doing what kids do".

    Don't get drawn into any conversations about why you are there whose fault it is etc. Just point back to the present and how you are going to help them focus on the work.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Just to say as I went back through your original post, I notice the school is using punishment exercises. I know as a supply teacher you can't change the school's entire system, but punishment exercises rarely work since it is not getting to the core of the problem - and I just wonder if that is why this class is problematic.
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    It's just this. Things will get better, especially if you keep consistently following the school's behaviour policy and getting support as needed.

    I wouldn't use a countdown. I find kids take the **** by chanting along with you. Stop and wait every time they speak, reiterate that you want silence and go down the paperwork/punnie route with the ones who keep going after a warning. Heap praise on the ones who do as they are asked. if you have to raise your voice to get attention, immediately move back down to a conversational tone to follow up - it demonstrates you are in control and choosing to occasionally shout rather than that they've wound you up until you lose your temper.

    But you sound like you know all this - just persevere! Emphasise that you're here at least all term/until the end of the year and eventually they'll get over your newness. Good luck.
    gingerhobo48 and pepper5 like this.
  5. trainershoes1

    trainershoes1 New commenter

    A suggestion, where I am employed, rather than having a negative list on the whiteboard we have a positive smiley list where students who are behaving positively are noted and can earn up to 5 ticks which equal a "positive behaviour" reward and their name/s are passed to HOD for positive reinforcement. This works very well with KS3 and sen/aen students across the board.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Never put a list of names on the board of those misbehaving since it only creates an audience for the students and, furthermore creates a contest of who can get their names on it and arguments about fairness of the judgments etc..

    Positive names on the board is a good idea if the group is small and there is time to stop and write the details. I write the names down on paper and pass it on to HoD or HoY; it is definitely good practice to note the behaviour of the ones doing what you have asked. In a chaotic environment as described in the original post, the ones behaving well often get overlooked.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You've only been there a week, give it a chance!
    They will try it on until they realise it isn't worth it. They will keep trying in the hope you will crack first. Show them that you are there for the long haul and that they've no hope of winning.

    If you've only been there a week in October, presumably their last teacher left after a month or so, so you have it tricky. Keep on with utilising the support and be patient.
    gingerhobo48 and pepper5 like this.
  8. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    As a supply teacher (however I was an experienced and completely successful teacher when I moved into supply later in my career) I can only reiterate the advice given to me by an LEA advisor in a London borough on my interview for supply. He said that you must go in "with all guns firing!".

    Supply teaching is not an easy option, in my opinion, and needs to be taken on by highly professional and competent teachers - after all they are paid accordingly. I am not familiar with the Supply Teacher Forum here, but your post promotes me to peruse it to see if there are agreements there with me.

    Try your post there too, I suggest.
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Mathsteach2

    Supply teaching is definitely not an easy option whether it is day to day supply or long term contracts like the one the OP is on.

    It takes much more than a week to get established with a new class. Once they see the OP is going to stay and not run away, they will settle down.

    She/he also has the added problem of this may have been a difficult class to start with if they are without a teacher. It becomes a difficult cycle to break: the students have no routines because they are without a teacher, and they are without a teacher because without the routines they become more and more challenging because of a whole host of factors including insecurity and the belief they are unteachable.

    The school will need to step in and assist, but if they have allowed a class to reach the point as described in the OP's post, then it appears they don't know what to do about it.
  10. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Whilst on supply, I took on a variety of covers. With an agency I could be sent to any school with only a few minutes notice early the same morning. I covered maternity leave with one class of Y2 infants for a whole term. In two other primary schools I had a one term contract in each, but did not know from day to day what I would be doing for them until I arrived in the morning.

    From the agency secondary supply cover was easier because the students' SOW were mostly assigned, therefore my job was simply cover. In JMI schools it was much harder because their regular teacher had left no instructions as to what they should be doing. I compiled a compendium of standard lessons which I could deliver to a totally strange class, any morning, any day, any school. This was the time that I really felt like a fully professional teacher because I could go in, do a job successfully, then leave at the end of the day and forget all about it, making sure I did not assign anything which required marking! Many schools either called me back, or were pleased if it was me who turned up at short notice.

    My advice is not to take on supply work unless you are completely confident that you will succeed. Of course I also had the occasional experience of failure, but that only warned me to avoid that particular school in the future.
  11. gingerhobo48

    gingerhobo48 Star commenter

    I agree with this and to my shame I was one of those 'pupils' who saw it as some badge of honour to see who could get their name up on the board and get that 1st after school detention.
    pepper5 likes this.

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