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NQTs - anxiety due to behaviour management? Help!

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Vitalistics, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. Vitalistics

    Vitalistics New commenter


    I'm new to the forums. I qualified a year back and am in a temporary full-time position. I'm from an ethnic minority background and am working as a secondary teacher in a mainly Caucasian school. I started a couple of weeks back and am dealing with racism from pupils in the corridors (not just mild racism either, not that that would be ok!). SLT haven't caught the pupils responsible and I am dealing with behaviour issues with my KS4 pupils too. Bad behaviour aside, the racism is really getting to me. This weekend, I am sitting feeling anxious about going back into school tomorrow to face the pupils. I hide out in my department at lunchtime to avoid the corridors and I stay in my room until after the children have left the school premises because I don't want to have to face more racism.

    Does anybody have any tips for the anxiety? I am not sure SLT can really catch the pupils responsible as the corridors were so busy during these incidences, and as I am new, I do not know the names of most pupils in the school anyway!

    I'm starting to suffer from a lot of anxiety due to this. It just sits and festers in the pit of my stomach.

    Thank you for reading.
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    is there cctv? Are you in a union? It doesn't sound like this is being taken seriously enough. A teacher unable to walk down the corridor because of racist abuse? The school should be taking urgent action to catch the culprits. CCTV viewing, taking statements, exclusions, parents in, speak to your union rep.
    phlogiston, JohnJCazorla and pepper5 like this.
  3. Vitalistics

    Vitalistics New commenter

    They're taking action but they just haven't been able to catch the pupils. I viewed CCTV with them, but unfortunately, being so new, I actually have no idea who the pupils are. It seems the school doesn't know who the pupils are either. :S I will get in touch with my union rep if nothing happens this week. Thanks for the reply!
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi vitalistics

    The racism is TOTALLY unacceptable. The SLT must address this issue as it is shocking and sickening to know a teacher or student is being bullied. Apart from the moral aspect, it is illegal. This is what I suggest:

    1. Call the Education Support Partnership for someone to speak to - this may help calm the anxiety
    2. Phone your union who will be able to advise you on what steps you can take with the school so the school can help you.
    3. Don't let the students know they have unsettled you. As hard as it is to face them, go out and about your daily routine and smile and act like you don't have a care in the world. If you have made any friends in your department, get them to go with you to sit in the canteen and have lunch.
    4. You may not be able to catch the culprits in the corridors, but you can stamp down on the abuse in your class. If it happens take a note and follow through with the behaviour policy.
    5. Remember, there is only one race : the human race. Remember not all people and schools are like this. It is only temporary, BUT the school has an obligation and a duty of care towards you and if this is happening they have to deal with it. This happens a lot to teachers and students from all backgrounds.

    If I were the head, and caught anyone bullying you, I would give a stern warning, phone the parents and say it is their responsibility to ensure their children don't display that behaviour towards other students or staff. I would go down on them like a load of bricks.

    Stay brave and face them, but do call places for support and also the school should support you.

    Tomorrow see if someone will walk around the school at lunch with you for company. Ask the friendliest person you can find in your department. Someone will help you. You will be amazed how much people will help if they can.
    Vitalistics and blueskydreaming like this.
  5. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    'Taking action' is not just finding those responsible, it is about educating those responsible, and their peers, through implementing anti-racism measures such as a stern assembly from the Head and a PHSE focus. How can the Head not be appalled to think that there are kids behaving like this in his/her school, and no doubt in the wider community as well!
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. Mrs Grumpy

    Mrs Grumpy New commenter

    Don't suffer alone. Talk to other staff. You're getting yourself into a state that won't do you any good. The senior staff will take it seriously, obviously, but other young staff need to know, and how they can support you. For your own sake, talk to others.
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    I don’t think it sounds as if you’re School is taking this seriously enough. It is unacceptable ...

    Make your SLT aware of the impact this is having on you and your health!
    blueskydreaming and pepper5 like this.
  8. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    It sounds like the school is institutionally racist and not taking this anywhere seriously enough. They could do all kinds of proactive things, but aren’t. Unfortunately, being on a temporary contract gives you less muscle and I suspect you’ll be lucky to have your contract renewed. You could take steps to identify future offenders, even if you don’t know their names. Get yourself a secret pen camera for your top pocket from eBay. You don’t need to tell anyone, but once you have them on film, you’ll be able to track them down.

    Make it clear in writing to the school how this is affecting you, seek Union support and start looking for a new job. Go sick if you have to and clearly state to the school racism is the reason causing stress. If a school’s SLT has to be told the steps it needs to take to change the culture of racism, you don’t want to be working there. Most schools aren’t racist so move.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Totally agree with the comments above.

    Harassment of staff FOR ANY REASON is absolutely unacceptable and crushing it should be the top priority of SLT. From somewhere, we seem to have developed the belief that a degree of being sworn at goes with the job. I do not concur...

    I also don't believe they can't identify the students responsible. When something like this happens in a school, believe me, SLT will have a pretty good idea who's doing it.. Proving it is another issue, but often dragging the most likely culprits into an office and giving them a good earful stops the problem without it going further.

    Talk to your union. But also be aware that if OFSTED got wind of what was happening, they would descend with fire and the sword, because this triggers all sorts of government guidelines. I'm not saying you should threaten to denounce your school for institutional racism, but you do have that option. And its pretty nuclear.
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. desiralorraine

    desiralorraine New commenter

    Dear Teacher, I know the feeling that you are experiencing as many teachers might have gone through periods of anxiety related to their job. My advice would be that you should be first and foremost proud of your ethnicity....you don t have to hide... walk with your head high. Sometimes our non verbal behaviour might give out signals to other people... if we are portraying lack of confidence this would be a trigger to potential bullies. Rest assured that even people who are not part of ethnic minorities may go through the same problems. So my advice would be to one BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.. second try to be the trendy teacher maybe a trendy haircut some nice jacket... children look highly to these things. Make your lessons fun .. do a quiz, an interesting activity.... I don't know what you teach but if you look up for ideas you will find a lot. whilst in class you have to be firm... it is never too late believe me to start rules. Makeup ground rules... whilst at the same time give rewards and praise when it is due. Check for support in your school speak with collegues who may have more experience than you have and seek advice. Also ask for support from your superiors ... see what is your school policy as regards to discipline. Show that you mean business in class... you are the boss there, you know what is right...... make it clear that you won' tollerate any misbehaviour....... and one last advice remember that kids and teens have not the maturity of us adults and so do not be offended or hurt too much ... you KNOW you have worked hard to be a teacher.... BE PROUD and KIND to yourself.... start from yourself first...

    YOU can do it !!!! For your anxiety try some exercise, socialize with friends and relax..... you will be fine.
  11. temporarypart-timer

    temporarypart-timer New commenter

    Dear Vitalistics, I'm so sorry that you are going through this experience. It is completely unacceptable and is certainly not the norm to be un supported by SLT. Any normal Headteacher would be sorting this out, they should have put support in for you, you'd be surrounded and protected by other Staff, students would be identified and dealt with. Tons of brilliant advice here particularly SEB . Do call education support partnership and your Union. Thinking of you and appalled that this is happening, hoping that by now it may have been dealt with, just seen the date of your original post.
    All the best ..
  12. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Follow them to their lessons or until you encounter a teacher who will recognise them.

    Regular physical exercise, steady sleep patterns and a healthy diet.

    Nip this in the bud then forget about it.
    Scintillant likes this.
  13. c616williams

    c616williams New commenter

    Racism totally unacceptable. Not something I'm particularly knowledgeable on as not experienced it myself but you need to speak to union/union rep.

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