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What to do when they ‘gang up’ on you?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by sunshine76, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. sunshine76

    sunshine76 New commenter

    I’m feel like the world’s worst teacher after a lesson today, it’s the lesson I dread every week. They are a tough Year 7 group, and recently getting worse. There about 9 very difficult students in the class of 30, but they take over the whole class.
    They refuse to follow instructions to be quiet, laugh when I sanction them, but worst of all I feel like I’m being ganged up on. Every time I try to speak to a student about their behaviour, others jump in and start shouting eg ‘he didn’t do anything’, ‘yo’re picking on him’ etc. This will go on persistently, with them arguing the toss, shooting across the room to each other etc.
    I let some back at break after the lesson today, and they continued to do this, saying I can uodnt do anything to them, and one student said I’d have to let them go before the end of break so I couldn’t do anything.
    I’ve got them back in detention tomorrow, but I could really do with some advice. I’ve contacted home (parents either aren’t interested or say the kids are like that at home) I’ve referred to SLT but they are generally unhelpful and see behaviour management issues as teacher weakness. I differentiate and plan really carefully, but tonight I’m just feeling wretched.
  2. sunshine76

    sunshine76 New commenter

    Apologies for the typos, I’m feeling really down
  3. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    Does your school have a behaviour policy

    If so follow it and INSIST that SLT follow it AS WELL
    pepper5 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  4. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Sorry to hear this. This is a situation that is really difficult to break down. When it feels like there are too many students misbehaving for you to get a grip on it, it is so dispiriting. But take a breath, remember this is a job not your whole life, and that you can make things better.

    Firstly, you need support to break the group up. Insist that either a head of year, SLT, head of department etc comes into to observe lessons. Ask for them to remain in the room for the full hour unless they are removing students. Then have that member of staff phone home to explain what the school are having to do. Ask for parents to come in to school for a meeting for the worst offenders. Have clear, concrete, non-emotional examples of the behaviour and ask for SLT to attend the meeting.

    If this has no impact, some of those students have to leave the room. You can't tackle 9 students at a time. So, use whatever facility your school has for isolation/parking. Provide a booklet for students to work through in silence during this time. Email it home and explain that since their child is involved in behaviour that is making it impossible for the rest of the class to learn, they will be having their lessons elsewhere for a certain period of time. After this time, their behaviour will be reviewed and they may be allowed back into the class.

    How do detentions work at your school? Can you enter the students in for an SLT/department detention or is there only the option of keeping them back yourself? If the former, put them in every single week until the behaviour improves. This sometimes works eventually.

    Set some very clear targets and put them on subject report. Onorous but it provides good evidence to get support for the more extreme moves above. Parents need to sign the report each week. Pester the parents if you think they will eventually be any more use, even if only to stop the school calling them!

    Remember they are children. Most of the gang will be followers and therefore you will be able to change this situation. You do need to clamp down as hard as you can now though because the more the class goes off track, the worse you will feel.

    Good luck. Let us know how you are doing.
    pepper5 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  5. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    You need to break up the gang. Positive praise here. You will find that some will gravitate to the good group eventually. I used to give a behaviour grade each lesson. Just note it down in your mark book at the end. Use your school's system ABC 123 whatever. Do not argue about the bad marks. Give quiet praise to the nice kids. After 5 top grade lessons in a row send a postcard home or give them some kind of school reward. Any slipping from A to a B in the sequence means the pupil starts again from scratch. At the end of the lesson stand at the door and praise all the good quiet kids who are probably fed up with the naughties. Some naughties will gravitate to the good group but I am afraid you might still be left with the hardliners.
  6. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    I have had this experience on quite a few occasions !!

    1. The strategy that I have for these sorts of classes is that I type up the LO and the Tasks on an A4 sheet of paper. The starter is there as well. As the class comes in give each pupil the work. They can start working immediately. That way you can then start behaviour managing as know what to do as it is written down.

    2. Then on the whiteboard draw a table with 1st reminder, warning, 3rd warning /detention. As soon as the first one starts, write the name on the board and work your way up quickly. No arguments. "you haven't followed my instruction".

    3. Email their form tutor/cc Head of Department. Make sure you follow them up with a detention and possibly a phone call home.

    4. Pin them down like this each lesson so the vile ones know they can't get away with this. Get them on their own and get an apology.

    5. Start moving the mouthy ones away from their friends.

    6. Stand at the door to direct them in so that they can see YOU are in control not them.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  7. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    PS They need to learn that the school is behind you and they can't get away with this.
  8. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    You are definitely not the worst teacher. It isn't personal. Just try to stick to a regular routine. Don't get into arguments and memorise a few phrases that you can use repeatedly.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  9. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    Always put your own sanity and well being first !! as it is such a stressful job already !!
    Happyregardless likes this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi sunshine76

    Sorry you are feeling down and have 9 badly behaved year 7s.

    Sarah's advice is an excellent plan so you could start with that.

    Having SLT in the room will immediately send a signal that the school is going to stamp down on the behaviour that is obstructing the learning of others. Perhaps your HOD could help as well.

    You say the SLT are unhelpful. If you go to them with the plan above, I don't see how they could refuse as it sounds like an excellent plan.

    Please do not think you are a bad teacher.

    The truth is there are hundreds of classes just like the one you describe and all that many teachers can't be bad.

    Another thing you can try is to be just a tinier bit firmer - just have that bit more edge in your voice if you need it.

    I would not worry about it anymore. They have a choice: either work in your class according to the rules of the school which includes following instructions or they can work from booklets in an isolation area.

    Stop spending so much time planning, differentiating and worrying about it.

    You are not to blame.
    Happyregardless likes this.
  11. Happyregardless

    Happyregardless Occasional commenter

    "Please do not think you are a bad teacher.

    The truth is there are hundreds of classes just like the one you describe and all that many teachers can't be bad."

    Pepper's spot on.

    Just been on supply in same school. Two classes delightful = felt like a wonderful teacher
    Class I had today ( who've had about 14 different teachers and parents are very concerned that the class is 'driving away' teachers and they haven't had a consistent class teacher all year) = hell on earth - felt like a C**** teacher

    enough experience to know it's not me ;) Unfortunately, many permanent contract teachers don't have the 'luxury' of comparison as we do and I really feel for them. Imagine the enthusiastic young teachers who leave this profession after five years (if not before) because they've started off with a tricky class and in this current educational climate of 'blame the teacher' probably felt as if it was all their fault?
    geordiepetal likes this.

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