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Urgent: whole-class disruption

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by ellenlilymay, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. ellenlilymay

    ellenlilymay New commenter

    Hi fellow sufferers!

    I had an exceptionally awful year 10s today and would like your advice on how to silence (legally) a whole-class scenario where ALL of the students completely ignore you (even though you have never met them before etc). Apparently the group is an amalgam of 2 small low-ability classes, merged for staffing reasons.

    Teenage students continued shouting, screaming, and ignoring my presence completely. I was therefore completely unable to take the register. The usual counting down from 3, hand-clapping, etc failed to make any impression.

    In the end, I had to call out for a senior member of staff, also because by then someone's flying calculator had hit me on the arm. This resulted in 2 students being escorted from the room by the SLT followed by some degree of highly reluctant co-operation from the others, although little work was done.

    (As an aside, one student in the group is officially allowed not to work every time there was a cover teacher taking the class.)

    I'd be very very grateful indeed for your advice as this has happened before in a new school as a supply. What to do when the entire class is deliberately misbehaving at the very whiff of a "sub".

    All suggestions of successful strategies very gratefully received!!!
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Hmm, difficult, especially if the students only believe you're there short terma nd there will be no repercussions.

    I have had success in the past with Tec Wragg's 'Draw a face, very slowly, stage by stage on the board and making no attempt to quell the noise.
  3. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    Sorry to hear of your rough year 10 class.
    You can only work within the paradigm of the school system that your in. In the first instance, familiarise yourself with the schools discipline system and then see how you can work around it and make it work for you.

    I worked on supply in a school where the norm was to call parents- so at the end of a lesson such as you described I would be on the blower to several parents.
    Identitfy the chief insurrectionists, and discuss with fellow staff what strategy works. You may be able move them into the HODS lesson or they might respond to a phone call. If you phone home check first that the school are okay with it and that there's no particular issue with the parent in question- you don't want to end up on the sharp end of and difficult parent. If you do call, don't warn the kid first or use it as a threat. Just do it and let them face the music.
    If the school has a "back-up" or "on-call" system go with it.
    Activity-wise, you could try an alternative to getting the class quiet first, for example laying out photocopies and asking the kids to start work straight away. Something that occupies them for 5 minutes, such as copying out, or transcibing a predrawn diagram on the board. Keep 'em busy.

    Work on your routines- get them to leave bags/coats outside, if possible. Definately try to get them to wait outside before you arrive.

    That all being said I did a supply lesson in a school with no cover work provided, no materials/ books of any kind just a shell of a room full of screaming kids. I called the HT and asked him "what sort of school are you running here?" I didn't get the call back, LOL.
  4. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    That's a very liberal replacement for the "be quiet you complete sh%ts" which is so frequently the deserved response.
    Perhaps I shall combine the 2 methods-I shall slowly draw the letters of the phrase "be quiet you complete sh%ts" all skewed into non recognition, and overlapping into the formation of a recognisable face.
    Best of both. Intrigue for the kids. Encoded catharsis for teacher.
    Thank you!
  5. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    O fgs.
    It's a done deal.
    Work will not be done.
    Lower your expectations, wear a crash helmet or at least ear plugs, don't grumble to any other staff, and make useless but vaguely interested motions at the front of the class-think "feeding pigeons" when dispensing work sheets.
    Relish pay day appropriately.
    And find work somewhere else where you get to use what you worked hard to qualify for.
  6. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    May I ask, what was the attitude of the SMT who called into your class? I would have mentioned it to the H of Y or H of D about the class, because they are bound to realise what is going on with the class. I had a bottom set before Christmas, which was normally taught according to a TA by the class teacher, the HT also attended the class and two TA's and despite this they still almost impossible to control, I just had one TA's. So do not blame yourself, because these types of classes can be difficult for those in full time roles as well, and the school just dumped the class on the supply.
  7. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter

    This is appalling. Low ability, challenging classes are kept small for a reason. Several reasons actually, and putting them together completely defeats the purpose.
    "Stick 'em together and give 'em to supply".

    This doesn't sound like something a remotely good or caring school would do. In your position, It's easy for me to say, but unless you're desperate for the work I'd call and say I'm not going back and then, if it's via an agency, explain to the agency exactly why.
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    Set them a mini assessment under exam conditions. Anyone who talks has to then stay behind. Give 'em immediate and honest feedback next lesson. Tell Hod - and ask the hod to have 2 of the worst at least temporarily.

    Phone parents. Get some in if necessary. Show them their child's work. Link up with the Hoy. Get support staff in to support and witness what is going on.

    Then do another mini assessment next lesson. Keep doing this until they are ready to listen and work.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    What you describe sounds dangerous to me - two low ability classes merged for s supply teacher.

    A flying calculator??? It could have hit you in the face.

    Dont go back.
  10. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Right now I'm on day to day and have come to agree with sbkrobson.

    Earlier this year I had a couple of gigs curtailed because I did challenge the behaviour and called for support and used whatever systems there were.

    Soon I may well be on another longer term gig. Question then is should I fight to establish acceptable norms of behaviour or just keep my head down. Not so long ago I would have done whatever necessary to get a class inyo a position where all can learn well, now I'm not sure it's worth it, if I want to keep the gig.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  11. a1976

    a1976 Established commenter

    YOu're either damned if you do and damned if you don't. When I did supply, I would call for SMT if I was in a situation like that. Like Pepper said, the merging of two classes was dangerous though. That is a recipe for disaster.
  12. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    I'll pass on some of the advice I've had over the years.....

    "Have you tried using praise?"

    "Put their names on the board" (yes you don't know their names so cross-reference the sheet of 30, 3 year old 2 inch black and white mug shots they gave you).

    "They're fine for me in drama"

    "Teaching is all about building positive relationships".

    Better advice I've had includes...

    "Concentrate on the one person's behaviour you can control, you're own"

    I interpret that to mean don't lose your temper and give them a piece of your mind!

    "If nobody gets hurt and nothing gets broken it's a successful lesson"

    "On supply your being paid to be patient with other people's children".
  13. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    What if Ofsted come in? When you read the nit-picking in the forum about observations, how is it possible for people to criticise minor/on-existent issues in some classes, yet accept that no learning will happen at all in others? If an agency nurse is working in the NHS, you still expect decent treatment, surely? I'm not pretending that classes haven't always tried to play up supply (speaking as someone who has done supply teaching, and also helped organise/manage supply teachers in my own dept), but we all expected students to learn something, and supported the supply teacher by accepting anyone who was very rude into our own classes. When I was a supply, the HT/DHT popped into my classes to check things were ok-when I later accepted a FT role at the school, it turned out that it was normal practice, so they could nip any problems in the bud.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  14. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    If an Ofsted inspector comes in just flash your 'visitor' badge. You're both strangers in awe of the chaos.
  15. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    fwiw I am always a "pleaser" when I do agency work, and have always had my placements extended either in hours per week or in duration of term.
    However there was one exception.
    On this particular placement I had a dangerous object thrown directly in my face in such a class as OP describes. The incident happened about two minutes before the end of lesson bell, presumably with the intention of a hit and run type exit by the boy. So in the absence of a direct line manager or departmental contact even, I went to reception and explained to the staff there that I did not feel able to do the one remaining lesson after lunch. I was not hurt, just p***ed off that this kid might be the winner in something so incredibly wrong. That he would be left free to repeat.That the other kids would have learnt the wrong thing from it. That I would be blamed for this object lying on the floor broken. I sat in reception and wrote a letter to the HT requesting a response to the fact that I had had an object thrown in my face, asking to be advised of subsequent attendance to my lesson of this boy, and when I arrived home an hour later I had a message from my agency stating the school did not want me to return.
    I don't get angry often, but it made me angry on a very deep level. Because this is called education.
    I was not angry to have the placement curtailed. On the contrary it was a valuable lesson about where not to work.
    If behaviour is so poor that it hurts others and there is no back up for you in that perception, leave.
  16. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    You forgot "maybe it's because they think you don't like them"

  17. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    I've never found collective belligerence endearing!
    Happyregardless and alex_teccy like this.
  18. elvispenhaligon

    elvispenhaligon Occasional commenter

    The £10 whilstle.

    Get £10 out of your wallet. Grab it between your index fingers and thumbs and pull about a 12mm edge of it really tight. Get that edge so it's 90 degrees to your mouth and blow down it like this >>>>>>> --------- as hard as you can.

    The resulting shriek will stop ANY class. They have sensitive little ears and you have heard nothing like it. It is comical. It is seriously like *** was that noise.

    Call me unprofessional, but it works.
    MissGeorgi likes this.
  19. elvispenhaligon

    elvispenhaligon Occasional commenter

    Some sheets of paper work....generally cheap copier paper, but you'll find a lot of A4 rips when you do it and you get a staccato note, rather than an ear splitting shriek.

    Do it, practice. 12mm gap between your thumbs, fingers, pull hard and blow. If it's too high pitched, let it go a bit. You'll get the sweet spot which is about 150dB. It is the loudest noise you will hear anywhere outside of a war zone.
    MissGeorgi, agathamorse and tonymars like this.
  20. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter

    Science teacher tip.
    App on tablet/phone whatever, a tone generator (we use Phyphox, has loads of good physics stuff)
    Anyway, set tone to play something upwards of 14kHz. You will hear absolutely nothing and might actually be surprised when they start looking startled.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.

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