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Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by mr_free_sat, Apr 26, 2012.
I've also just started my NQT induction...
You really, really need to sit down with your mentor, or the Head, and agree behaviour plans for each of these pupils, with clear rules and consequences: rewards and sanctions. You need to know exactly, step by step, what will happen when the pupils display inappropriate behaviour. They need to know this too and they need to learn that you will be consistent with it, hour after hour, day after day, until they display appropriate behaviour. It will be exhausting - physically and mentally - but going through the pain now means it will get better. If you don't tackle it and don't summon up the stamina for the long haul, you'll never sort it out. It will probably get worse before it gets better - when they realise they have to up their game now you've upped yours - but stick it out and show them that you won't give up - or give up on them. I suspect they desperately crave someone to give them such boundaries, someone who will be consistent, but fair, calm but firm. They will protest but will respect you more for it in the long run.
These pupils have obviously had very difficult experiences in the past and desperately need some consistency and structure in their lives. This is a lot to ask of an NQT. However, the fact that you care and that you are resourceful enough to post on here shows that you want to make a difference. They need someone like that.
You say it's almost impossible to teach. Whilst the pupils need the structure of learning activities within lessons, I'd say the national curriculum subjects take second place at the moment to learning how to behave and deal appropriately with their emotions. I'd therefore talk to your mentor/Head about this too and get their agreement to teach much more PSHE/SEAL type things. Effective learning can't take place until they learn to control their behaviour.
Going back to the point that you need to know exactly what will happen. Agree what sanctions you are allowed to use. Have the two TAs had team-teach or similar so they are trained in how to restrain and remove pupils from the room if they are in danger of hurting themselves and/or others (including staff)? If not, I suggest you request it (firmly!) for all of you - and any other staff who'll need it.
If they can remove the pupil, you need to know there is a safe, appropriate place for the pupil to be taken to, where he/she can calm down and have the chance to reflect on his/her behaviour and its effects, and what they could have done differently.
Could you write social stories for each of them to address their particular behaviour issues? If there are common issues with the class, comic strip conversations perhaps to show what happens when they behave a certain way.
Rewards, rewards, rewards. Give the pupils reason to do the right thing. Yes, ideally they'd have intrinsic motivation but they clearly don't so you're going to have to come up with some kind of reward system and apply it consistently. Reward those who have earned it. Get them to come up with a list of rewards they would like (eg 5 mins choosing time, computer time, listening to music, etc). Perhaps you could set up a system where they work for 10 minutes then get 5 minutes reward. Then you would gradually work to reduce these. Give lots of praise to those doing the right thing. Make it clear that even if you strategically ignore inappropriate behaviour at the time, they won't 'get away with it': keep them behind for a discussion.
If most of them go off at once, I'd suggest getting a member of SLT to come along - not to intervene but to stand by whilst you tell them what you expect and what will happen and what they need to do next - and then back you up. That way, you're keeping control of the situation but are seen to have back up of someone senior - it's not just you being mean.
Talk to parents - a lot. Phone calls and postcards home - for good news. Also talk to them when something has happened. Try to establish a positive working relationship and let them know that you are determined to stick it out and get the best for their children. These pupils obviously had a bad experience with the last teacher so the parents won't have a good impression either. Work with all of them to reassure them that you won't be beaten and you won't give up on them. Let them know that you care enough about them to not let them be out of control.
Sorry if that's rambling. It was meant to be encouraging so I hope it's not patronising or depressing.
Let us know how you get on. And do make sure you bug your mentor to get the support you are entitled to.