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They hate me as their new teacher!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by j_pink, May 26, 2011.

  1. j_pink

    j_pink New commenter

    Dear all,
    Some advice needed re: Secondary Ks3 classes.
    My new classes keep reminding me of their previous teacher who was "fun" and showed them loads of movies and let them on the PC etc. I work in a challenging school where the students crave attention from teachers.
    The problem I'm having is not being 'fun' (I can do that) - it's that they are not ready to start having such flexibility in the classroom. Their behaviour is terrible: constant shouting out, racist comments, personal insults to each other (and me sometimes) and mild violence.
    I use the school's behaviour policy. I use positive behaviour. I have a rewards system too. I have started phoning home for naughtier kids or putting them on report.
    I gave students a chance to choose their own tasks for next term and they gave feedback saying they previously enjoyed "watching movies and clips", "learning on the computers" and a few said they want me to be more fun with them. In my opinion this teacher was very relaxed with behaviour (in fact the Head told me so).
    How can I improve behaviour but also engage them? I'd like to try group work and other out-of-class activities but I am very concerned about the ringleaders in the class.

  2. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Ignore it. How long have you had them? New classes ALWAYS do this with new teachers: compare them to the previous one, say the last one was better, let them have fun, etc. Tough tomatoes for them: you're the new sheriff in town, and you run the room. As Lionel Logue would say: 'My room- my rules.'
    It's perfectly normal behaviour with unfamiliar classes: they;re testing your boundaries, and seeing if you'll give in. Stand tall, be strong, and hold the line. If you waver, they'll force the line further back. If you keep your nerve, they'll start to see that you won't be messed about with, and toe the line you set. If course, keep up the praise, and make sure they know that you want the best for them. But if they;re a challenging class at all, then the best means 'an organised, structured, safe learning environment.' Not fun. Not fun at all.
    I would save the group work for later; it tends to bring out the worst in poorly behaved classes. Keep the work straightforward, and easily delivered, so that you are free to focus on behaviour. There's nothing wrong with interesting lessons, but don't make the mistake of thinking they will behave 'if only my lessons were amazing'. This is not true. Badly behaved students will misbehave for the most elaborate of lessons. You have to sort out your authority in the room first, or at least simultaneously with, the quality of the lesson. And if it comes to the crunch, focus on the behaviour before anything else. Once they start to behave you can roll the gamified learning out. Until then, keep it simple. Keep the computers off and the films in the cabinet until they can show that they'll learn without them as well as with them.
    Good luck
  3. j_pink

    j_pink New commenter

    Just a few weeks. They are testing me. Every day. I'm having some successes. They are responding to my more nurturing female approach. I'm not a shouter, but I'm no push over either. I made my top set work from textbooks when they were being rude and totally disrespectful. I gave them the chance to 'design' their own homework tasks. Guess what they said? Computers and watching TV. This is year 7. I've never known another Y 7 top set that would say something so predictable.

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