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Struggling student teacher

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by nini18, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. nini18

    nini18 New commenter

    I am a 25 yr old student teacher in my 2nd year of training. I get a lot of supervision of groups during my spare hours when Im not teaching but struggle to keep the students under control. Last Monday I took another teacher's class group, in my own subject, and was going to try to teach them. when I asked them to take out their books they point blank refused, and throughout the whole lesson they spoke over me. I could not even ask them to be quiet because they just kept talking from the moment they entered the room and saw me. Things got quite out of hand with students shouting across the room and throwing stuff. It was embarrassing because I could not get their attention, trying to shout over them. It was like I wasn't even in the room. I don't have this problem with my own class groups, just those I supervise. It's embarrassing and upsetting for me, and it makes me question my ability as a teacher going forward.

    I am looking for some advice/comfort/ support - has this happened to anyone else? How can I motivate a class that are not my own to work? How can I get their attention when all 20 or so are talking? I don't want to approach colleagues about this as they have all said in the past they have no issues with the students in question so I really feel it's all me :(
  2. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Hi there,

    It's not you! Look at what you have written there: 'I don't have this problem with my own groups.' Keep that in mind. It is context. The students see you/any cover supervisor and they immediately feel they have a free lesson. This happens in lots of schools!

    "Supervising" a class can be much tougher than teaching it!

    You are inevitably entering from a tough position because they probably act like that whenever their usual teacher is absent. As you've said you're doing well with your actual teaching and this is because you're getting the chance to do so there. The students, even if they know you are a trainee, see you as the teacher in that context.

    Please don't feel embarrassed about asking for some support here because other teachers may not have a problem with those students in their classes, or even with taking supervision, but this will be because they are well established within the school. You won't be able to change this situation entirely on your own. Find someone you can ask for help. I imagine it is a school-wide issue that time is wasted during these cover lessons so perhaps it needs to be a whole school assembly/focus with some SLT support to at least start the ball rolling with changing student attitudes. Perhaps your mentor or HoD could help with this?

    Then yourself you will need to use the school behaviour policy as firmly as possible. Don't be worried about students disliking you, or changing how they act with you in your teaching classes, as this tends not to be a problem. As long as you are fair and consistent. They simply need to learn over time that it's not worth misbehaving in your classes because you will follow it up. Whether that is sending pupils out, contacting tutors/heads of year, or getting the HoD of the subject you are covering in to the class to deal with them.

    Make it very clear at the beginning of each lesson that you expect them to get on with the work quickly and quietly, to stay on task and to work without disturbing others. Say you're there to help them but that it is a normal lesson and normal rules apply. Be calm and succinct and then give out the instructions. Go round the room offering help and encouraging students to be on task. Then start quietly giving warnings to those you need to and from there follow the school's policy. It is exhausting and totally wasting your time when you want to be focusing on your subject lessons but it will be worthwhile.

    Finally, check whether you should be doing cover supervising during this time? I am not sure of the rules around student teachers but it might be worth checking how much you are being asked to do and if it feels unreasonable, speak to your mentor about it.
    pepper5 likes this.

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