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Who experiences worse behaviour - student teachers or NQTs?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by WemAles, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. I was interested in this question based on something a person with many years experience in education said on another thread. (A thread I don't wish to get involved in).
    Paraphrasing, he basically said that as student teachers are less capable at controlling pupils than qualified teachers, pupil behaviour would be as bad as it could be for student teachers.
    I disagree with this view as students generally take over from established teachers who know the class they are 'sharing' well, have a good relationship with the class and can support the student with specific advice about specific pupils in the class. The support for student teachers provides a phenomenal safety net, especially as the usual class teacher has responsibility for the class the student is taking.
    In comparison NQTs have to find their own feet with their own classes, get to know the kids without specific help and live with any mistakes made without their usual teacher helping out and stepping in when needed.
    Plus the added pressures of having to plan twice as many lessons a week in their NQT year than as a student......
    I spoke to loads of NQTs during INSET days out last year and everyone said they found behaviour far tougher, with worse behaviour to deal with as an NQT than as a student.
    Anyone else find this?
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Students have the ongoing support of their classteacher. This teacher will step in for total in-class support should it be needed.

    NQTs only have mentor support from afar and need to get things absolutely right from the first day.

    Definitely harder for NQTs, no doubt about it.
  3. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    harder for NQTs no question.
  4. I think NQTs will always find it more difficult initially, simply because student teachers have a qualified teacher supporting them. The key has to be to establish your boundaries firmly from the outset and not yeild.
  5. ceesaw

    ceesaw New commenter

    I was on the GTP two years ago and my entry to the teaching profession (with no prior education experience at all) was pretty tough. After three weeks I took over the deputy head's year 11 class while they went on scheduled sick leave for an operation with no TA or support much less a member of staff in the room. During that time I was ill-equipped to cope with the wave of hostility and resentment that greeted me and the 'I love ***' sticker that was placed on my back by one of the delightful students. A year 8 group were almost as offensive and again, I was on my own during much of the time as that's the nature of the GTP.
    As an NQT, I had my ups and downs but nothing comes close to that experience and I've picked up a whole range of behaviour strategies to help deal with those kinds of moments.
    Maybe that's one of the differences between the GTP and the PGCE?

  6. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Actually - and I take it you are referring to me - I said that "you would expect student teachers to have more problems, but I don't see that".
    If you are going to start a thread that disagrees with what I say, it might be an idea to be absolutely clear what you're disagreeing with.

  7. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    This pretty much confirms what we were saying about NQTs having it worse, actually. Sounds a dreadful intro to teaching, ceesaw, but this is the type of things NQTs generally have to deal with - ie being alone in a room with your own inexperience and a bunch of thugs! Student teachers would generally expect to be teaching with the usual classroom teacher sitting at the back of the class observing, perhaps. Or taking over a lesson, knowing the qualified teacher was still around for back up. Kids know this and don't play up as badly as when they know you are on your own. (In secondary education no one can hear you scream.......lol!) In the original thread, I know I made the comment that observing student teachers did not give you an accurate insight into behaviour, because any observer in the room immediately changes the dynamics. Put an NQT in a room of Y9s on their own. Next lesson put a silent middle aged observer at the back of the room. Behaviour during the second lesson will be completely different - and much improved, simply because the kids don't know who the stranger in their midst is, and are usually keeping their heads down in case it is someone with real power to sort them out.
    This would not have happened with an observer in the class, because the kids would not have dared. Therefore no observer of student teachers ever really sees the whole story and what it is NQTs have to deal with. I think you are absolutely spot on about GTP v PGCE - GTP tends to mean HT think, 'great - that class is covered' and leave the GTP student just teaching alone with little help or support. It's sink or swim - but the consolation is that if you swim you can gain a lot of experience in teaching - much more so than a PGCE.

  8. RaymondSoltysek,
    I paraphrased because I thought I knew what you thought with regards to the title of this thread. Your opinion seemed clear from what you typed. Apologies if I was mistaken.
    You said :
    "Given that I watch student teachers, who are less capable at controlling pupils than "chalk face" teachers, you'd think I would see pupils at their worst. "
    If you are saying you think pupils will behave worse for student teachers than NQTs then I disagree, as do all the NQTs I've discussed this with (and the first 3 posters who replied). The reasons for this have been mentioned above. If you don't think this why say you'd think you would see pupils at their worst during student teacher observations? Its clear what you said and what I'm disagreeing with.
    Another factor regarding classroom observations that you may not be aware of is that you see classes at their very best with student teachers. Children are far less likely to misbehave with another adult in the room watching what they're doing. They think they are being watched - the whole atmosphere will change with you there. If you were to observe a struggling NQT with a difficult class, where the behaviour will obviously be much worse than any well-supported student teacher you will observe, the behaviour will be nowhere near as bad as usual due to your presence in the room.
    So, given what I've said on this thread, can you concede that you haven't seen pupil behaviour at its worst, nor will if you re an external observer?
  9. It's far easier being an NQT where you can stamp your own authority and make the class your own. As a student, the children know you are not their teacher, it is difficult to have your own routines when they have already been established. You are basically trying to do your job under someone elses routines. If a teacher does have to 'step in' when you are a student, it only further reduces your authority.
  10. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    You were mistaken. However, thank you for your apology: not
    many people are so mannerly. .

    I do not understand your point here. To me, it seems self
    evident that one would expect someone who has been in schools
    for three weeks to be less capable at controlling behaviour than
    someone who has been in the classroom for almost two years. Is
    that not common sense?

    If you are saying that students experience fewer problems than
    NQTs, I have no reason to doubt the anecdotal evidence you have
    presented here, and indeed have some data of my own on the
    difficulties NQTs face. Perhaps a proper research study needs
    to be undertaken.

    I did say in the thread to which you refer that I have never seen
    "riots" in any of the 750 student teacher lessons I
    have observed, nor heard
    of any riots taking place in any of the schools where 10,000-odd
    students who have been trained at my establishment in my time there were placed. That was all I claimed.

    I think it is rather presumptuous of you to to take it upon
    yourself to point out "things I may not be aware of" about
    observed lessons given that I have visited around 750 students in well over 100 schools over 10 years.

    And it is demonstrably not the case that I always see pupils at
    their best. I have been to see many students where the pupils
    have behaved badly or I have failed the student for their behaviour
    management, and been assured afterwards by the student and by
    the school staff that the class is usually well behaved: in other
    words, they play up despite - or perhaps because of - my presence.
    Of course, you may claim that the student or staff may be lying: I
    tend to trust their professionalism.

    Ah - so the whole purpose of this thread is not to have a
    civilised discussion about the experiences of student teachers and
    NQTs, but to get me to "concede" that I am "wrong".
    Thank you for that. I will disengage from this debate if that
    is your purpose.

  11. What an interesting example of good role modelling from WemAles and RaymondSoltysek, especially in the Behaviour Forum.
    If only we were all back in the days when we could bang two arguing children's heads together.
  12. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Raymond - things that have occured during those ten years that you <strike>are in denial of</strike> may not be aware of:




  13. I agree with kit909. I found it much easier as an NQT to deal with poor behaviour. You can be clear when reinforcing your own rules (and have much more faith in the sanctions used). As a student teacher I found it tricky showing up and taking over from another teacher. They might have completely different techniques to you, some which might be tough to replicate (and I think pupils might see through you if you are being false and adopting a different teaching style).

    Some teachers I took over from were 'pushovers' meaning the students were in a particular mindset when entering the room, something which needs to be addressed as soon as the academic year begins, not midway through by some fresh blood they've never met before, or even seen around school. I can't blame them!

    It may seem as though behaviour is worse (on the surface) for an NQT but perhaps this is the busier teaching schedule (more chance of running into little oiks), the fact that there's no one there to 'have you back' if thins do go **** up, etc.

    Just my experience.
  14. rainbow_gold

    rainbow_gold New commenter

    NQT is definately worse. The behaviour i have experienced so far has been appalling in comparison to training
  15. No that is not common sense to me - a person who has recently completed an NQT year after a student teacher year. I've explained why, see my posts, page 1.
    Why? I thought we were having a polite discussion and I was trying to uderstand why you have your views. I know that for a lot of classes they behave more during observations. I was wondering if you were aware of this, hence saying so. You don't appear to realise this.
    That's a good point I didn't think of. I don't know about children as well as you of course, but I'm not surprised many will be mean-spirited or spiteful enough to play up during an observed lesson. So I concede that you don't always see classes at their best. Thanks for that, I've learnt something. You're never too old to learn, are you?
    Why even suggest that I may claim students or staff are lying? I never would - I've just conceded that you made a point I didn't think about. That's an unfair thing for you to say. Please retract it. A decent person would apologise.
    Yes it was - based on a comment you made on another thread that I disagreed with. I only have my experiences and those I've seen in person to go on. Hence asking others for their experiences so comparison can be made.
    I assure you that is not my purpose at all. I've not said, "you are wrong" anywhere. Nor would I. I have tried to discuss a question with people with differing experiences to mine, like you. It is possible, in fact I find it reassuringly mature, for adults to have different views but accept that opposing views have merit. You can agree that a person has a point about something without completely agreeing with them. I do not think you are wrong, but think you make valid points and have a different overall opinion to me. I'm not sure why you can't offer me the same courtesy.
  16. Except that I've upset him to the point that he doesn't want to discuss this any more on this thread. I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to have done, when he has been quite rude to me on this thread!
  17. YesMrBronson,
    thanks for the links. Its scary to see how bad things are in some schools. As I honestly keep repeating, I've never seen rioting at my school. No one can deny that 'riot-like' behaviour has happened in some schools. I won't try to say you're wrong on this.
    Thanks for your responses kit909 and paperbackhead. I know what my experiences of those two years was, so its great to hear experiences that contradict mine. Different views, experiences and expectations make the world interestign IMO. It would be boring if we all were, and thought, the same.
  18. I'll just throw a couple of seasonings into the mix.

    In FE you are normally (but not always) emplyed and train part time over two years so you don't do an NQT year.

    For certain subjects the 'new' teachers are often from industry eg it is not uncommon to find nurses teaching health and social care, There are problems with dicipline but they don't seem to be as bad as in schools.

    Do you think this is more likley to be because this is post compulsory education and the students (theoretically) want to be there.
    Or because the new teachers are often older than in schools (yes I know not all school teachers start in mid 20s) so the kids don't realise you are new?

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