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NQT taking over Y3 class - so much fussing and fighting

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by jellybears, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. jellybears

    jellybears New commenter

    I'm taking over a Y3 class after Christmas that I've taught for a couple of weeks on supply already. About half the class (almost all the girls) are very well behaved. The other half (all the boys and a couple of girls) are not. While they will seem to follow my instructions, there is an unbelievable amount of fussing, squabbling, shouting out, tale-telling and lack of listening that leads to a lot of learning time being wasted because they are queuing up to tell tales or haven't listened to the input or haven't started because they've been busy chatting or arguing. There's also a lot of arguing and fighting between them in the playground.

    A lot of it is quite hard to spot - a few children are quite sly about it and will seem to be getting on with their work while they are actually winding each other up! To the extent that in my interview lesson a fight went on behind my back which I didn't notice because I was working with a group. (Still got the job but was very annoyed with myself when I heard the feedback!) I stick to the school behaviour policy and am consistent about giving out rewards and sanctions - I have also spoken to a couple of parents about children's behaviour. If I can tell children haven't done enough work because they were chatting then I have made them finish it at break/lunch. It's more of a maturity issue I think with many children, but whatever it is, I really need to stamp it out as it is a problem!

    I have a few ideas for how I will begin to handle it (creating golden rules and consistently reminding them of them) and will have more of a think over Christmas but I'd really like some ideas for how to deal briskly and efficiently with children who are constantly fussing and squabbling and telling tales on each other and not listening well and half of them shout out at me when I ask one of them a question. I want to nip it in the bud before it gets any worse so I really want to go back with a firm approach and consistent strategy for shutting it down - this was the main point of feedback from my interview so it's something I really need to make progress on right away.

    Thanks for any suggestions - their behaviour definitely isn't as anywhere near as bad as most of the posts I've seen on here and they are nice children on the whole but it's something I would really appreciate help with!
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  2. Urbanfaerie

    Urbanfaerie Occasional commenter

    It sounds like you've got the right approach already. If the bad behaviour has built up over time (and if they're getting a new teacher in January then they have likely had a very disrupted year so far) then it'll take time to see improvement.
  3. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Hi jellybears,

    Just because it's less serious, it is still a very valid question and a situation that can be exhausting if it doesn't improve. Although tackling it can be quite draining too, it's worth it in the long run.

    As Urbanfaerie has said, your attitude sounds brilliant and positive. You are recognising that it is difficult to identify the perpetrators sometimes and this is important to keep in mind as you move forward with sanctions because children react strongly to injustice and you don't want to get it wrong.

    Keep going with the rewards, praising those who are doing well and emphasise through your language that you are impressed with their maturity/respect shown to others/empathy etc. At the same time, keep going with a firm policy against incidents of whinging/moaning/not listening etc. Tackle each and every incident as best you can as per the school policy, calling home, taking away break etc.

    One method you could also try when it feels like a lot of students are off task is to count minutes on the board when they are wasting time that they will have to make up out of their break. Do this silently without even referring to it (after explaining it the first time), simply write the number visibly. Then add to the tally as they continue to chat/moan etc. This often works by other students telling them to stop as the whole class will have to make up the time. Perhaps speak to parents about this first if you think some will complain and explain it's a short term method to allow all students to get back on track and that those following instructions will be let go quickly.

    Ignore the whinging! When a child is complaining, firmly say you won't listen to moaning. Set out rules that they shouldn't tell tales on each other (unless it's something serious of course) but should focus on their own behaviour and let you deal with others'. Then stict to this consistently that you simply say, "don't whinge" and move on.

    Explain the words petty and pedantic! And ask them to work on those traits. As you have said, lots of activities around respect and tolerance - look at P4C resources if you need some extra ideas - will help them engage with their own actions.

    When the arguing is taking place outside of the classroom, ensure that it is being dealt with by the supervisors and/or the head. They need to see and respect those who have responsibility for those times and areas. Where necessary, you could help mediate some resolution conversations between students and help them work towards resolving their disputes rationally or simply learning to walk away when they can't agree.

    Finally, maybe spend some additional time on their personal goals and remind them why they're in school. Help them see the connection between poor behaviour and loss of time learning which could lead to poorer results long term. Remind them that (although it sounds harsh and I know they are young but I think they will be able to understand) when they are grown ups they probably won't know most of the people in their class so it's important that they focus on their own learning and developing attributes such as tolerance and self-control.

    Hope that helps,
  4. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    Or alternatively, a few good old-fashioned b.ollockings will sort them out and save you bags of time *****-footing around them.
  5. Monty1983

    Monty1983 Occasional commenter

    Have you seen class dojo? I've used it in Year Three with real success and also using marbles to win golden time, any and all good behaviour celebrated so the more troublesome students are part of winning golden time for the class. I am, by nature, a positive teacher and strongly believe that positivity breeds independence and happiness within a class but I haven't taught in 'tough' schools so this may be little too optimistic!
  6. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    Being positive all the time doesn't always work. Some pupils need telling straight and suffering proper consequences, otherwise they just hold the others back through constantly disrupting lessons. Small disruptions here and there may not seem a lot but they add up to a massive amount over the course of a year in school. If I were a parent of one of the other children I'd be furious. Get it stamped out and pronto.

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