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Seeking advice as an NQT

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by wheezysteve, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. wheezysteve

    wheezysteve New commenter

    Hello guys, I am an NQT with a difficult year 8 class. I have thought about a new behaviour strategy and want your thoughts, but to put it in context I will give you some background information. Thank you for reading.
    I have had a difficult class that I teach for one hour per week - mostly I teach A-Level subjects so no behavioural issues there (good banter), and my year 7 class is doing great. However this year 8 class are a nightmare. I teach them ICT
    So far, I have done positive reinforcement with them, phoned parents in advanced pleased with their progress, I have a seating plan enforced which I will change now that I know them all very well. I use the policy of the school consistently - bad disruption gets on-call, set out my expectations had the students write it in diary to be signed by parents, along with consequences. Its just this class take up so much of my time, constant disruption chatting, and I spend all my PPA and lunchtimes filling out 12 incident reports/12 phone call reports/3 on-call reports, etc. I have even moved them out of the ict room into a normal classroom and we did behaviour practice/silence etc. I even cried after the lesson last week (by myself) because I am so frustrated and disheartened at 30 years of age. Here are my proposed changes
    So I want to change the dynamic. I am changing the seating plan now that I know them all well, and know the two ringleaders along with the other 10 disruptive students, I know who they are chatty with so I am hoping this helps.
    I have phoned all 12 parents re: kids' behaviour and forgetting homework. Informed them of new detention policy for my class. From now on missed homework, rudeness in my class gets a one hour detention, which I fill out in class and phone home after the lesson (I've a free period after them) to seek parents' permission for detention to be that same day - I teach them on a Thursday, and Friday is normally on-call detention day so its useless to wait till next Thursday. If I can't get permission I will ask the form tutor to execute the 1 hour detention for that Monday.
    The form tutor, who backs me up, has told them that I want to leave them. They know I have come in voluntarily (unpaid) to help them after school, collect their work and give good feedback and spend so much time unpaid getting them the best possible grades. Half of the class are now disgusted with the other half as they have said they want me to be their teacher. So I am proposing this. This Thursday, I will teach all students for 15 minutes on what their unit coursework is, what expectations are, and grading levels. Then those who have misbehaved in the last few weeks will not get any help from me. I will tell them their behaviour is not acceptable to enable them to learn and that today I will devote my time to those that have been good, and yet have suffered previously because the teacher is always busy disciplining the other kids. Those who misbehave are one-hour detentioned, and removed from room to sit with HoD (have her support too). I am hoping then the other kids who aren't ringleaders will see that the good ones get rewarded and will want this too.
    I will also tell the class as a whole, that I will no longer come in voluntarily unpaid for students who want to improve, unless those students are on my "good register". If the good ones request me I will be happy to designate my extra time with them to help them improve their grades and get beyond their target levels - and if they achieve this they will also get a phone call home, about how proud I am of them. The students who don't care in my class, misbehave won't get this treatment, they will just have to go through the work themselves and if they get below their grades then it is their responsibility for their behaviour. I have wasted so much time and effort with the same group of people for too long that I cannot justify ignoring those that want to work. The bad ones will know they have the lesson to show me they can work well, and if they do they will get the same treatment as the good ones in the following week's lesson, and can come after school too.
    Is this too harsh, or fair?
  2. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    It sounds like you're working very hard indeed. Behaviour management takes time, because building up good relationships takes time. So don't be hard on yourself because they aren't all jumping through burning hoops for you. They will...eventually. But only IF you carry on with the behaviour policies you've put in place.
    Secondly, while I applaud your strategy, it sounds a little complicated, and could backfire. Two things at stake here:
    If they don't behave, they don't get to come to your supplementary session, surely. Of course, give them a few chances, but to my mind there's no need to force kids to do catch up sessions unless the school feels that it's a duty. So by a simple process of attrition you stream the class voluntarily.
    That said, there's a case to be made for the fact that, while they ARE there, they deserve your attention too. The idea of a kid being in a room and being told 'you don't deserve my attention' while understandable, could be seen as the opposite of what a teacher is for. If they;re in the room, they deserve the help; otherwise, get them out of the room. Few things will kill a kid's desire to learn than the feeling that a teacher has abandoned them. Of course, many deserve a bit of abandoning, but out job is part charity, part magistrate. Sometimes we need to train them into good habits- and save them from themselves. If, once you've tried this for a reasonable period of time, they don't comply still, then cut them out, and help the ones that deserve you.
    Good luck
    Read more from Tom here on his personal blog, or follow him on Twitter here.
  3. wheezysteve

    wheezysteve New commenter

    Thank you Tom for your much valued input.
    I have looked back at my strategy, taking into account what you and others have said. I also attended a behaviour cpd conference last weekend as I do want to try the best I can to help these kids.
    I will be persistent and consistent - two important words I have heard a lot of people use. The class as a whole will get my attention - I was going to be too harsh by ignoring those that don't deserve my time and I recognise this isn't the best attitude, they are 13 year olds and will not place this "punishment" along with a behaviour they did 2 weeks ago. I am hopeful though that when they see that I do care for them, genuinely do care for them, that I book out the room after school for two days (two Thursday afternoons) so that those that wish to achieve their target grade or beyond will have the opportunity.
    From the conference I have an idea, and wondering what you all think of this..
    I am considering typing out a draft letter of praise to send home to their parents/guardians saying how amazed I was with their module unit grades and how they have done exceptional work in this module - leaving out name/date/signature. I was thinking of showing them this letter and asking them if this was something they would like me to send home to their parents/guardians after they successfuly complete this unit of work in 2 weeks and try their best and get at least their target grades - hoping to use it as a motivator.
    My biggest problem, as I mentioned these issues to staff, is that I do take it to heart. I am on board with all my other classes and have a great relationship with all my classes, except the few in this class. I believe I can narrow the problem down to two people now - the rest are in line now. I will keep trying my best, as I want them to succeed as much as possible.

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