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Really difficult pupil - Tom, could you possibly have a read?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by bigkid, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    It's partly testing your boundaries. It always takes time for new staff to settle in,establish routines, expectations, consequences etc. It's not you. It's never easy.
    I have 2 main strategies for dealing with this sort of thing.
    <ol>[*]Preemptive: Have paper, a spare pen and any other equipment she might conceivably need on her desk when she her arrives. When she arrives ask her for her report card and keep it until the end of the lesson. [*]Punitive: Ignore all requests that are not polite and appropriate apart from to ask the girl to wait or speak to you politely. Use the school behaviour policy to the letter. Consider every demand to be both an interruption and a refusal to follow instructions. If the school has an option to send her out then do so as early as you can while following the behaviour policy. Set a detention. Have her form tutor/Head of Year or your HOD present when you do the detention and use the detention to reinforce expectations and consequences.Repeat as often as necessary.</ol>
    If you see her eating crisps ask her to hand them over. If she doesn't then she is again refusing to follow instructions. Follow the behaviour policy. If you aren't believed about this then your school is badly managed and you should consider moving on if things don't improve in my opinion.
    I wouldn't have asked that as her response was predictable. I would recommend completely ignoring that sort of nonsense. Ask her to write her complaints down and tell her you will ensure that your (insert manager of choice) reads them. Beyond that there seems little point in engaging with her for as long as she is of the view that anything she doesn't like is unfair.
    Persevere and don't neglect praise. It can be very effective
  2. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    Thank you for your excellent advice bigkid.
    I really appreciate you taking the time to help me. x
  3. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    You're welcome. Let me know how it's going if you think further advice might be useful.
    Is your Head of Department supportive? Effective on behaviour issues?
    Is the relevant Head of Year?
    What are your SLT like?

  4. How do her peers regard her?? Very often better kids regard these attention seekers as a pain. SLT really do need to support you on this to diffuse the situation. A few spells in isolation ,HOS's office etc whereby she has the choice to return providing she accepts classroom rules........ Phone calls home ( consistentlty ) can be effective if the parents are on your wave length; sadly not always!. Some separate depts. have their own report system. If this fails she should at the very least be sent to the HOD. The key is a determination not to fuel her attention seeking with confrontation even if this means ignoring the fact that initially she does no work !! It is better to suffer a passive presence. Try to be a step ahead and have all necessary equipment at hand USE lots of" I" statements empowering yourself and confronting her less . "I need you to" "Can I help you to get started ?" etc. Attention seeking needs to be diverted into constructive ,positive reinforcement as attention is obviously what she lacks. If there is no effective sluice system, or system record of her behaviour on which the SLT can act ( and you MUST record EVERYTHING) then sadly you must go elsewhere. Personally I'd be damned if ONE " ------------" were to be seen to end my career.. Good luck
  5. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    You're head of department and you're having to justify yourself to the head and to the HoY because of some year 10 girl?

    You need to be looking for another job!
  6. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    sorry, misread your last post. I guess sending her to yourself might be somewhat counter-productive [​IMG]
    Can you organise somewhere else to send her?
  7. "I don't work in a school where my word would just be taken about this" - and you're a HoD?!?!
    That is absolutely ridiculous. Totally agree with PaulDG.
  8. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    I could ... I'm a bit reluctant to send her somewhere in my department as they would look down on me. I could arrange for her to go elsewhere in the school but I think she'd refuse to go then I'd have to call SLT, then she'd give them a story about how right she is and how wrong I am, and then I'd have fault found somewhere.
    Another job is starting to sound appealing. Problem is, I've only just started this one. [​IMG]
  9. Think its a bit strong to be thinking of moving because of a pupil. Dont know the amount of schools i would have worked in if i was to move because of pupils such as this. Consider yourself luck that its only one pupil. Whats wrong with you girl? Crack the whip! Who's the daddy?
  10. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    Perhaps the issue is that if the low-level behaviour she engages in as you describe, then while disruptive and unacceptable, is manageable. However, she sounds like a character who might get even worse as the years wears on, and needs reigning in.

    What is like for other teachers? I would take that as a step. In addition, I'm finding an increasing amount of young girls who excelled at KS2, but struggle at KS4 (even if they occasionally achieve the A* standard.) I wonder if they are reacting the difficulties they are finding in a subject in which they once did not have to push themselves? She clearly isn't invested in making things smooth for herself.

    In the meantime, she sounds like perhaps need to be as business-like as possible with your dealings with her. Particularly with the things that black and white (equipment, for example), she knows she is in the wrong, even if she protests otherwise. If any conversation needs to be had, it should perhaps be a 'should you...' question to see how stubborn she is to admitting the school rules.

    I would see, too, if there is a form tutor or similar who has a history of a good working relationship with the girl. Might not help, but another route (tiring, though, depending on your systems, and with the demands as HoD.)
  11. Badger_girl, I was reading yourfirst post and something struck me, then you mentioned it in a response to BigKid.
    This was my initial thought from your OP. SHE KNOWS YOU ARE so you need to stop feeling threatened by her (easier said than done I know). She seems to have you where she wants you and I think the behaviour will continue until you lay the law down with her. Please don't be afraid to do that. The worst she will do is make an unsubstantiated complaint that you are being unfair. With the catalogue of poor behaviour you have this will only lead to her digging more of a hole for herself.
    I agree with BigKid's advice that you follow the school behaviour policy. Pick her up on poor behaviour, don't entertain her whining in class. She can claim you are picking on her as much as she wants but don't forget you've got a class full of witnesses to her behaviour if she were to decide to try and distort things.
    I would also call the parents, expressing the disruption she is causing by not being organised for class. Tell them that you expect her to bring a pen and paper with her to lessons, its not unreasonable. However, BigKid's idea of pre-empting this request will help you in the short term. As much as she should bring it, unless your SMT are going to support with her removal for continually arriving unprepared it will help to have it ready.
    She is new to the school and is attention seeking, trying to stamp her authority to the others by the sound of things. If the point she wants to dicsuss with you is unrelated to the work in class then tell her that you are more than happy to make an appointment in her lunch, break or after school to discuss it with her. I have also found that in cases like these, catching them out on the odd lie, reporting it to SMT and her parents is enough to start seeds of doubt about what she says so that you can get on with your job.
    She will tire of her attention seeking ways if you insist on stamping them out in front of her audience. Take the audience away and I think you will find she settles herself down, she is basically trying to bully you, albeit gently.

  12. So, if I've read this right....
    This girl is bright; attention seeking; disengaged - so I'm assuming not pushing herself, doesn't take responsibility for her own learning, is given work less than her intellect deserves so is bored, so is not motivated, so doesn't push herself... etc. It's a very familiar vicious circle....
    It also seems to me that it's fairly low level but intensely irritating behaviour!

    What caused her to disengage? What is home like? Why haven't you contacted the parents? What would happen if you did?
    Get to know her. She's crying out for attention. Keep her back after a lesson to tidy (or similar) and give her opportunity to just witter away to you. Or fall in with her as she walks down the corridor - ask her to carrying something to the staff room for you. She may need that slightly less formal occasion to open up. And she'll know that you value her help, thereby valuing her.

    Love the suggestion of pre-empting by having all possible pens paper ready for her. I'd probably ham it up and present each one with a flourish just as begins to whine for it - even doing it over my shoulder as I'm doing something else. Perhaps she'll start to see her behaviour for what it is and will laugh at herself.

    I'd let her sit with her friend tbh - with strict proviso that if their behaviour falls below expectation 3 times, they will never be allowed to again. Either, it will work (perhaps being near her friend helps her to feel more secure so lessen her need for you) or it will be a disaster, in which case you can remind her of that every time she whines about it - bu the outcome will have been her choice so it will soon come to a dead end.

    Sorry if any of this has already been said - I only skim read everything!
  13. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    Thank you for replying.
    I'm not suggesting I move schools because of this girl! What I am unhappy about is that she holds power over me because if she complains it will be listened to and to a certain extent, believed.
    Jenny, the girl concerned isn't new to the school? I'm also wary of her with good reason: she says things that have no basis in the truth!
    Sorry but I take exception to that. I haven't said so or implied that this is the case. She complains the work is too hard. It isn't but it is challenging. She does not listen and forgets to bring her books to the lesson and never completes homework.
    I have.
    They agreed to "speak to her" - this hasn't really made a difference other than to continue the "you don't like me!" campaign. They didn't come to parents evening either.
    Sorry, I'm not trying to veto everything you say, but being in a room with just me and her? I really feel that could lead to a very difficult situation. I did let her sit with her friend at the beginning of the year and yes, it was a disaster! Hence why they were both moved.
  14. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Dear Ms Badger Girl

    Sorry it took so long to get back to you- some weeks are longer than others- you're a teacher too, I'm sure you understand :)

    This student is begin awful with you. Let me hone in on something- it's her behaviour that's the problem here. This isn't a cry for help, any more than picking my nose is a cry for plastic surgery. Everything you've described is classic new teacher abuse. She's probably an alpha-troll in her own world, and who the HELL are you to come in there with your big ideas about, oh I dunno, teaching or something? I suspect that she probably does have a pen and paper every time she complains she doesn't. And if she doesn't then she damn well should. What level of intelligence does it take to remember such things? Next to nothing. What it takes is a heart that cares, and she clearly doesn't care to obey the rules of your room.

    She probably also smells the uncertainty from you; one way you communicate this to her is by feeding her obnoxiousness with your kindness. It's gone far, far beyond intelligent, rational chats with this girl. Stop engaging with her unreasonable needs. Unless she has a condition that requires medication, she's perfectly capable of following the simple rules of your room. She chooses not to, because she doesn't like you/ your lessons/ your style.

    But who cares? It isn't her class. It's yours. Cut to the chase with this lovely lady- the next time she huffs and cusses because the world doesn't bend over backwards to kiss her backside, send her out. Give her a detention. Call home. Arrange a meeting with the parents. Repeat, rinse, repeat. It's a battle of wills. Don't give her the ammunition of your generosity. You have a class to teach, and she is just one part of it.

    You can do this. Just be tough, and stop treating her chaff as anything other than a nuisance.

    Good luck

  15. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Also (PS my browser appears to turn my careful formatting into confetti. Please imagine it was typeset by someone who wasn't on day-release) I meant to say that this will require a great deal of repetition,. You may have already tried this simple procedure. The trick is to continue doing so until she realises that it's more trouble to fail to comply than it is to toe the line.If the parents aren't much use then you have to use the powers you have- every time she throws her dummy out the pram, get her out. Keep enrolling liner management to do something about this situation. Get them to escalate sanctions- at some point this girl needs to start facing exclusions for her meanness, and unless she's a real hard nut, she'll crack sooner or later. And if she doesn't then she needs special provision.

    If you can't amend this girl's behaviour, then you need to remove her from doing any more damage to the others. The needs of the many.....

    Good luck

  16. "Think its a bit strong to be thinking of moving because of a pupil" - noone's said move because of the pupil
    "Consider yourself luck that its only one" it's not the existence of the pupil that's the shocking thing here
    "Whats wrong with you girl? Crack the whip! Who's the daddy?" - have you read her posts?
  17. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    You are a star, Tom, thank you so much! [​IMG]
  18. Tom's right. Unless she is a really hard nut, grind her down by relentless application of sanctions. The most difficult thing to do when you are a busy teacher, but the only thing that works with madams like this and, as strong characters themselves, they come out respecting you for it even more.

    Say to yourself right now - she is not going to get the better of me - and be more bloody minded and determined and stubborn as she is that she will not. She will LOVE you for it
  19. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Who ever said boys are the hardest to teach? Girls can be such bullies. I was bullied like that by a girl once. Be strong and don't take it personally. Good luck and don't let her get you down.

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