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Walking on eggshells...

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by msbumble, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. msbumble

    msbumble New commenter

    I'm a year 5 teacher, and after October half term, we had a new boy join our class. I'd heard about his behaviour problems at his previous school (trying to pick fights with adults, throwing furniture etc.). But he settled into our class really well, with only one, not particularly serious, outburst, and other low-level behaviour - constant calling out, not settling, distracting other children etc.

    In fact he had settled in so well, it was decided we no longer needed high-needs funding for him. However, last week, after half term, he turned into the child I was told I was getting. He was an itching for a fight, accusing me in front of various people that I'd called him dumb etc (just to clarify, the first time he said this, I had asked him to stop talking in the line). Monday last week he threw his bag and shoes at me. Again, I think he was looking for the response - he could have easily hit me with them if he had actually wanted to, but they landed half way between us. Our SENCO was called down to deal with him, as I had to take the others to PE. This escalated the situation, mum was called in while we had 3 adults trying to manage the situation.

    He carried on like this to an extent all week, and on Friday we had to evacuate the other children. The police were called to escort him and mum home after he assaulted 4 members of staff, and his mum, threatening to kill his mum and himself.

    Anyway, yesterday he wasn't in, and we had a lovely day, with loads of fantastic word done by the others, because they had no distractions and the full attention of me and the TA.

    Today he was back in class, and I have felt like we are all walking on eggshells, trying not to "set him off". I'm trying to manage the low-level behaviour from him in the same way I would the others, but I'm aware that at some point, anything could result in another incident, and that the other children are suffering from it.

    I just don't know what I can do to continue being the person in control of the classroom and making sure that the other children get all the attention and help that they should be getting. Any tips for how to be on top of it from the get-go would be greatly received!
     
  2. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Is he involved with any activities outside of home & school?

    For example does he play football for a club?

    Kevin
     
  3. msbumble

    msbumble New commenter

    Not as far as I'm aware, he never mentions anything. He does go to some of the after school clubs and breakfast clubs, but that's all.
     
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Settled in well and then suddenly everything changed? I'd be flagging this up to someone to check if anything changed at home or outside of school. Any adults or older siblings suddenly returned to the parental home or due to do so?
     
  5. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    This lad appears to have plenty of energy. Perhaps a positive approach in finding activities within the community could pay off.

    Do you know the local scout leaders, football coaches ... etc?

    You could invite any local activity leaders to give a talk to your class about their organisation.

    This sort of approach could stand you in good stead for the rest of your career.

    Kevin
     
  6. msbumble

    msbumble New commenter

    He has ASD, and found out over half term that mum has got a boyfriend (first one he's ever heard of since dad left 7 years ago), and his grandmother (who he's very close to) was in hospital saying she was going to die, although she has since got better and returned home.

    My biggest concern is the other children. I just want to do the best by them, and at the moment I don't feel I do!
     
  7. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Hi there,


    You've given some clear reasons why his behaviour might have changed over half term - I'm sure those events will have upset him. Does he talk about them himself or has Mum informed the school? If he's opening up about them, is there a school counsellor he could meet with? Or simply another member of staff that he trusts that could act as someone to talk to about his feelings? This could perhaps form some sort of time out from the classroom occasionally that would give everyone a break and hopefully give him a forum to express himself and lead to a more positive experience? All discussions within CP guidelines etc (not suggesting just anyone can be a counsellor but I know most schools don't have the funds for extra people anymore and someone separate from the teacher to talk to can help some children).


    Unfortunately, I've found it's quite common for children expected to be difficult to settle in well at a new school and then start to return to their old ways. I think this is a combination of most children honestly wanting to be "good" and responding the fresh start they've been told they're getting - whether that's a new school or a temporary transfer etc, and a childish sense of nerves. Challenging children are often quite vulnerable and they are likely to be intimidated by a new environment even if they don't seem to show it. However, the causes of their behaviour are still there and they do seem to begin to demonstrate the original issues again after a time.


    It's positive that the child had a good start with you and it will be possible to build upon that but it will take time and consistency and if possible, the parents’ involvement. It’s frustrating because he has shown that he is capable of good behaviour and this feels like he’s choosing to misbehave now. Keep in mind whatever you know about why he acts this way and get as much advice on his particular needs as you can.


    I understand your desire to ensure the other students are not affected and this is really difficult, but you should focus on them. Tell yourself that you are not walking on egg-shells. If he kicks off, he kicks off and you will deal with that specific event. Don’t anticipate it otherwise it’s even more likely to happen as he will pick up on your expectations of him.


    Plan and deliver your lessons as you would do. Engage all the children as best you can and if and when he does not comply, follow your school’s procedure and involve other staff as best you can to remove him from the situation so your lesson can continue for the other students. Don’t expect to deal with this alone. Some of the things you describe are serious and I’m glad to hear the SENCo is involved. Use additional adults as much as possible to tackle his behaviour as it occurs but make sure you’re giving him a chance first. Be as positive as you can with the whole class but make it abundantly clear that you are responsible for everyone’s learning and so any misbehaviour (from him or anyone else) will be dealt with promptly.


    Be as consistent as you can with everyone so you make sure he’s not being singled out because you’re nervous about his reactions. Praise him lots when you can.


    Overall, follow your school’s procedures to tackle his behaviour but fully focus on the other children. Don’t be shy about asking for help because his behaviour is affecting the others. I hope the situation improves.
     
    msbumble likes this.
  8. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    It's not the behaviour you need to deal with then but the underlying issues. He needs someone to talk to about the changes at home and he should have some kind of supervised time out system. Is he mature enough to understand if you tell him you understand he's struggling to behave and that you want to help him?
     

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