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The two most annoying responses....

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Blakey82, May 13, 2011.

  1. "I dont care, its boring..."
    "Yeh, I know I did so what..."
    "Give me a det then..."
    "He asked for it...."
    I can deal with all of these, but when I'm faced with these two below, I dont know why but I cant deal with it and I'm tearing my hair out...

    "I wasn't even doing anything!"
    "Ah yeh sir, its just me isn't it!'

    Its the lack of responsibility for own behaviour arguments I can not stand. I am forever getting drawn into yes you did, no I didn't dialogue, and I just cant help myself. I guess the question I'm asking is how do people deal with this scenario? Are there any conversation enders that fit the bill when a student refuses to accept any responsibility for their behaviour? I feel like I get challenged every single time I reprimand someone. Why do they never accept their punishment? Is this a symptom of something I'm doing wrong. I cant stand being challenged.

  2. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    The trick is not to accuse them of anything in the first place. If you say, "Darren, get on with your work please", if he says, "I wasn't doing anything", you can say, "I didn't say you did. Now get on with your work, please." Concentrate on what you want, not on what you don't want.
    The phrase "I'm not the only one" is NOT a defence - it's actually an admission of guilt. Therefore, if Darren says, "Ah yeh sir, its just me isn't it!', you can say, "no Darren, but you ARE misbehaving, and when you ARE behaving I can turn my attention to the others". I used to have a wee poster on my wall that said "I'm not the only one means I'm guilty!" The pupils hated it when they realised the truth of it.

  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    In that instance, I generally say 'I know you weren't doing anything, but you should be doing work not nothing. Please get on with it now.'
  4. What kind of responses do you get from your students when you use these phrases? do they really work?
  5. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Yes they do: I wouldn't have mentioned them if they didn't [​IMG]
    The reactions are what you would expect; a bit of grumbling that might require a bit more assertion and then they settle down
  6. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    It's a mistake so assume that any given phrase will always work, in every circumstance, so new teachers should be discouraged from working to a script. The right tone and content of any communication can only discerned in the context of the moment.
    That said, there are some useful phrases that can almost approach generic utility. I find, 'What should you be doing right now?' is a neutral tractor beam that deflects a lot of pointless work-evasion. 'Sir, are you an Arsenal fan?' 'What should you be doing right now?' etc. It conveys the impression that what they're gibbering about isn't really the point of the moment.
    Works for me.
  7. Thats the point I was really trying to get at Tom.

    I find that scripted 'defences', remarks that educators can use to try to regain the control of the moment can lead the situation in an unwanted direction etc.

    I like the what should you be doing phrase...

    A question that stays with me (though it may not be the right time to think about it or answer it at that moment in the classroom) is what is behind the asking of the students question????

    I havent heard the word 'gibbering' used so effectively in a long time!! Thanks Tom
  8. I am so fed up of this one recently!
    We had a workshop at uni that said the following:
    To agree with them instead of accuse them.
    e.g. I understand why you want to chat first period of the day, but we've really got to get through today's very important task, otherwise you're going to have to do it for homework.

    Or offer an alternative to the behaviour: I understand that johnny disrespected your Mum, and I can see why you snapped back and told him to F off, but perhaps you should have just ignored him as you are only giving him the reasction he wants.

  9. Thanks for all the really helpful responses. Maybe its just my school. Maybe its me. I'm an NQT feeling defeated with behaviour managemnt. I know one thing for sure, all the expert ideas and strategies have never worked for me - an yes I do implement them correctly. I praise, I 'catch them being good' (god, I hate that phrase) I follow the behaviour policy, I make my expectations perfectly clear, I'm consistent, I am positive with my language, I try quiet words with them, I try noticing someone next to a perpetrator and praise their work...
    When I read books such as 'getting the *** to behave' I feel exasperated. The 'model' conversations in these books make me want to cry wishing that pupils responded in such a mature and non defiant way. I wish it was that easy.
    I have come to a steadfast conclusion and it may be contrary to what thousands of educational experts may say but I'm not shaken in my conviction. I see it every day. My sad conclusion being that some people have it, some people dont. You cant develop it, learn it, grow into it. Its just about you, your look, your voice, your stature, the things that you are born with and its so subtle I cant put my finger on it. I dont have it. I have some lovely classes but they are compliant. There are some classes that have me over a barrel and I feel powerless. The behaviour strategies given to me are akin to armouring someone with a twig to fend off a lion!
    Someone tell me I'm wrong....

  10. What you don't have is experience and reputation. People with many years experience working supply have exactly the same problems - because they don't have the long established reputation in a particular school. If the students don't feel that you're powerful, they'll not respond to even the very very best 'technique'.
    All this stuff about techniques, approaches and attitudes avoids the central issue. That is that it's all about relationships. The proper teacher-student relationship is one where the teacher is seen as the authority. The 'techniques' focus doesn't help you if the students in question only acknowledge the authority of people who are well known in the school for several years.
    NQTs and supply teachers have to rely on 'borrowed' authority from people the students will acknowledge and accept as powerful. Don't give up. There is no such thing as the 'IT' you think you lack.
  11. fuzzycat

    fuzzycat New commenter

    You're wrong [​IMG] A year ago, I could have written that post (and probably did write something similar). I was despairing and not believing anyone that told me it would get better. Now near the end of my second year, it's a whole lot better - honestly. It's not easy, and I still have plenty of can't-get-them-to-do-much-if-anything moments, and difficult classes, but now I also have classes where I can do lots, and getting through my planned lesson is now far more common than last year. I remember being shocked at the end of my third or fourth week this year that I had whole classes silently listening to me, when I had barely had that at all last year (and never, with some classes). It honestly does get better as long as you keep pluggin away, because you'll have started building up a reputation. Please don't give up!
  12. This thread is very reassuring! I could have writtenyour post Blakey. I'm feeling so despairing at the moment (also NQT).

    However what worries me about reputation is that I think I'm getting a reputation for NOT being able to control certain classes. I worry that kids will start playing up more and more as word gets around that I'm weak. I do feel I lack some personal skills which would help me control the class, I'm naturally quite shy and I seem incapabale of doing the 'angry teacher' thing without sounding redidculous - it always makes the kids laugh rather than change their ways . . . I feel like behaviour is actually deteriorating rather than getting better, and that I'll be the joke of the school by this time next year.
  13. wanderfar

    wanderfar New commenter

    I hardly write on these but just wanted to give you a bit of reassurance and reiterate everything everyone else has said. This time last year as an NQT there were many classes I didn't feel I had any control over; I was worried about how long I would last in the job. Something strange happens in September in your second year when your new classes come into your classroom--you know the rules and what to expect and have the confidence to send them all back out again because they didn't behave appropriately. They know you know the rules and suddenly your life gets easier! This year has been so much easier. I haven't changed my personality or manner but all the ground work you put in this year will pay off. Chin up--I think the NQT year is the hardest. It really is true that now I look back and feel a sort of awe that I managed to get through all the stresses of the PGCE and NQT year. What you describe is perfectly normal.
  14. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    I think you are wrong to assume that it is innate.
    This kind of bothers me....
    Have you thought of asking for the worst one or kids to be temporarily removed by HOD or SMT. Just to let you get to grips with the rest of them? That can sometimes work. Depends upon the school. Has this been offered?
    Do you have a T.A. in there with you? A good T.A. is a great boon. An experienced T.A. may notice something you don't or may be aware of something from other scenarios.
    Well that sounds more like the school than you.
    Doesn't go with
    does it?
    I advise a diary...a detailed one. Of what nonsense happens and what nonsense is put forth as an excuse. When you have found a contradiction that is a starting point. If you feel that something is wrong somewhere then your intuition is telling you something.
    Persist, stay calm. Be strict and keep records of what the children do wrong [no pen etc], even if you have to number a list of problems and write down the number against a copy of the class register every lesson. Eventually you will be able to bounce balls back to those above you and say stop blaming me.
    With some records you can say things like hasn't brought a suitable writing implement for 4 weeks. A pen that does not work or runs out afte 5 seconds is <u>not sutiable</u>.
    You see, it sounds like 'they' already have you convinced that it is you..it isn't...how can it be?
    when they say
    "I wasn't even doing anything"
    I reply exactly my point.
    "you have some work to do so get on with it"

    I always ask for date to be written on their work at start, and write it on the board.
    Any claims about not knowing wthen they are wrong not to be writing the date.

    If they are performing badly when you are being observed ask the obvious,
    "why is your book closed"
    smile sweetly and say "do you a magic pen? "
    If they say no then say "so what are you writing with?"
    If there are any leary answers say discuss/argue about it at break time.
    If they don't turn up or run off refer them up.
    finally ,
    It is hard to be an island of sanity in a mad, mad world...
  15. jubileebabe

    jubileebabe New commenter

    How do you respond when they say "It wasn't me, it was him!"
  16. Thankyou for the replies - each and every one!
  17. please don't feel despondent about controlling classes - this time of the year is awful for bad behaviour , the sap is rising, the sun is out/it's raining so lunch has been active/frustrating all of that transposes into the classroom and we take the brunt - because we are the ones it is safe to 'have a go at'.

    I have a whole arsenal - I won't bother to list them - the trick is simple this - take a breath. remember you are the adult in the room (despite what they might think) and that you need to set the bar. At this point there will be a host of kids waiting to see what you do - and then measure what you find acceptable by your response. if you don't know what to say just look and think 'really??' then go back to what you were doing. NEVER show your throat, because a wicked kid will go for it.

    Sarcasm has it's place but ultimately it can be really belittling for the target and make you an enemy. issue a sanction, say something like 'that's enough - we'll discuss it at lunchtime if you are that bothered about ' and move on.

    don't talk over them and definately don't get drawn into an argument with a student. have poise and presence even when you don't feel like it - then picture them flipping burgers aged 40....

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