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When you feel like you've 'lost' the class.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by countrybumpkin, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. countrybumpkin

    countrybumpkin New commenter

    I teach lower ks2. I feel like I've 'lost' the class. The behaviour is appalling and their don't care attitude is effecting everything they do. I don't know where to go from here. They feel out of control and my blood pressure and stress levels are sky rocketing. Help! The majority one from difficult backgrounds. They don't gel as a class. I'm an experienced teacher but if I'm honest behaviour management is something I find hard with difficult classes. My last few classes were great. I'm shattered. My head is aware that things aren't great at the moment but I'm reluctant to admit defeat as I'm experienced and dont want her to worry that I can't cope.
  2. Calamity54321

    Calamity54321 New commenter

    Can you give any specific areas you might target as a priority?

    I've finally brought my nightmare class round to a reasonably normal group. The three areas I targeted were coming in from the playground, moving around school and disruptive behaviour during teacher input.
  3. countrybumpkin

    countrybumpkin New commenter

    I would say target areas are:

    1. Completely ignoring what I'm saying e.g. tidy up.
    2. Being unkind to each other. A lack of friendships in the class. This includes them physically hurting each other too often.
    3. A lack of concentration during tasks. Completely off task winding each other up or having a chat.
    4. Manic home times: giving out books, letters etc, lining up shouting. Pushing and shoving when lining up to go.
  4. countrybumpkin

    countrybumpkin New commenter

    And listening on the carpet.
  5. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Although my background is secondary, maybe you could try teamwork ort something to almost force them to get along!

    Every teacher will have a tough class in their career or many. At times, it is a case of survival and getting through to the end of the year!
  6. Calamity54321

    Calamity54321 New commenter

    I could have written the same post!
    Entering the classroom continuing to run around and play, which regularly led to fighting.
    Not following instructions e.g. quietly, tidying up, stay in your seat
    Constant nastiness, name-calling, physically hurting, winding each other up.
    Disrupting with such persistence that the teacher input couldn't really happen some days.
    Manic hometime for sure, kids picking up chairs, shouting, out of seats provoking each other.

    I became a total dictator. Told them exactly what I expected in terms of behaviour, went to basics about what I wanted them to do and firmly addressed anyone who didn't follow. "You know what I want you to do, I don't see any need for talking. Is there a problem? I didn't think so, so stop it."

    I start every day and after break and lunch with my arms folded at the front of the room with an angry look on my face. I quickly address any poor behaviour. It is working!

  7. MissHallEnglish

    MissHallEnglish Occasional commenter Forum guide and community helper

    Like @scienceteachasghost says we all have 'that one class'. Again, I'm from a secondary background but I'd try the following:

    1. Tidy up time: assign leaders to each table or area - choose the most boisterous and give them purpose. The best table win a raffle ticket that goes into a 'reward tin' (old celebration box wrapped in sparkly paper) the table with the most raffle tickets at the end of a week get 5 minutes free time at the end of your chosen lesson or win a chocolate bar each on a Friday at home-time.
    Visible timers on the board to be tidy when the time runs out - try this link - my classes (remember, I'm secondary) love the snails... http://www.online-stopwatch.com/snail-racing-timer/

    2. Unkind to each other: a buddy system? Or a teamwork competition for 'being nice to each other' points - stars could be awarded on a visible chart in the room.

    3. Focus during tasks: hold a clipboard at the front when at the front of the class, every time you observe a behaviour/chatting/winding up, notify them that you've seen it and record it on your clipboard... They don't like not knowing what you've written (or not). REWARD/PRAISE ALL the good behaviour, merits, stickers, leave the classroom first etc.
    A bit of an abstract one, but... I struck a deal with a class to improve behaviour by them working in a focused way for the length of a short piece of music 'Einaudi', then I gave them two minutes downtime to 'chat' to a friend, then we'd get back on task. Without them realising, I extended the length of the music (bit by bit) over time without them clocking on. Eventually, by about Feb, I had them. Don't play anything they might recognise, though!

    4. Hometime: monitors. Have them lined up ready to hand things out to a table at a time. They could form a line, then one table at a time walk down the line to collect their books, letters plus other bits and pieces. Try to remember to reward your monitors for doing a good job!

    It's hard, hard work when you have a class like this - I've experienced it myself. However, be firm and stern, even if that's not who you normally are. The more military and organised your style, the more they'll realise there is no wiggle room! Be confident! Don't take no messin'.
    The old cliche: once behaviour is sorted the learning will take care of itself.

    Good luck :)
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    @cate_h has given absolutely splendid, practical advice. Do it. It works. Those strategies worked for me and will work for you.

    You have to be organised to within an inch of your life. Everything will take a very long time and you won't feel as if you're doing much 'work'. Expect output to decline dramatically. But it's probably not the best anyway. Whatever they generate is likely to be poor quality. But, at first, you'll worry about nothing getting done. Don't.

    Behaviour, behaviour, behaviour.

    At least 4 parts praise to 1 negative.

    You have to isolate every little thing and manage it. Don't just say, "Tidy time!" Break it down.

    "Red table, stand behind your chairs, please. Pick up your books and pencils. Go and put them in your trays. Now come and sit down again. Blue table? Do you all have your things in a pile in front of you? Everyone? Are you sure you're all ready? Take a look around. Yes? Stand behind your chairs. Good. Yellow table? I don't think the blues can hear me because you're talking. It's going to be playtime soon and you'll be able to shout and talk but now I'd like you to shush, please. Lovely."
    GLsghost and cate_h like this.
  9. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Have a look at the book "Getting the Bugggers to behave" by Sue Cowley. It is very good.
    All the best.

    Deliberately misspelt "Bugggers" to cheat the swear detector!
  10. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Does the school have a Behaviour Policy? Are you following it - consistently? Are you supported when sanctions escalate to SLT / head?

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