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Why don't they behave for me?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by GouGou28, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. I'm quite an experienced teacher and feel embarrassed about having behaviour problems in my classes. Last year I shared a class with a colleague, and while they were her favourite class, they were my worst. She constantly praised them to me and told me how great they were, while I dreaded them every week. This year, I share another class with this same colleague, and after my first lesson with them, I pointed out to her on the seating plan which ones to look out for as they might prove a problem. After her first lesson with them, she said she loved them, they were good as gold, and not a peep out of any of the ones I had said to look out for. This really knocks my confidence and shuts down any meaningful communication I can have with this teacher - she seems to not find them a problem at all, whereas I can't get them to behave properly. Last lesson, two pupils decided to just get up and walk quickly around the whole classroom a few times. Others were throwing felt tip pens. I wanted to put them on detention, but was worried that if I did the other teacher would see and act all surprised and shocked that I couldn't get them to behave. So I kept the students behind, told them how inappropriate their behaviour was and how I don't expect them to behave like that again. I said if they did, it would be immediate detention. Now I feel like a failure for not putting them on detention straight away, which I think is what I should have done.

    On an aside, I think my problem is mid sets. These two classes last year and this year that I have struggled with have both been large mid sets - I'm good with top sets and bottom sets - I know how to differentiate for them and deal with their learning behaviours. The problem with the mid sets is the low level off task behaviour, like calling out rather than putting your hand up because they are keen and want to contribute, like talking with their partner about the work when I've asked for it in silence, and I'm not sure if the other teacher just lets them get away with this as she doesn't mind, or if they don't do it with her, or if she keeps stopping the lesson to address these behaviours. At the moment, I keep stopping to insist on hands up and silence for individual work, but it feels like I am just doing it all the time and creating a negative atmosphere in the classroom. I also keep changing the seating plan every lesson to find the right place for some of the chatty ringleaders, but wherever I put them it seems they are close to someone they shouldn't be close to!

    Can anyone give me any help or advice on this?

  2. MisterW

    MisterW New commenter

    Can you be certain that they are behaving for her as well as she is making out? They may well be, but since some teachers can get embarrassed about the fact that they are having to deal with misbehaviour they may bend the truth - I have seen this in my school. Have you seen her teach before?

    Sounds like you've made a mistake here but it's one we've all made. This is all too common in schools and many teachers shy away from addressing misbehaviour as they don't want to appear weak in the eyes of others, especially management. But what you need to remember is that strong teachers deal with misbehaviour every time it occurs. if you are having to take a lot of action to address behaviour then that may raise a few eyebrows at first but eventually the kids will get the message and then you will have to have to address misbehaviour much less often. This may well be the situation that the other teacher is in - because she has taken on pupils in the past she has established a reputation as a teacher who will not be messed with.

    Try and cultivate the attitude of "I really don't give a s*** what other staff think about my behaviour manangement, I know I'm doing the right thing by giving a detention" - that's the kind of attitude you need in this situation. If it's a choice between looking weak in the eyes of other staff and looking weak in the eyes of the pupils, you should choose the first option every time.

    You need to hold firm. Set your standard and stick to them and don't become preoccupied with what is going on in other people's classrooms. I think the key to good behaviour is setting clear boundaries, teaching engaging lessons and taking time to establish relationships with the pupils, especially when the going is good. I'd also aviod changing the seating plan every single lesson as this sends the message that you have lost control. Stick with a seating plan, then punish kids when they misbehave.
  3. Thanks so much for your response and support. It is really appreciated. I think the other teacher is not bending the truth, they probably do behave for her, she is a great teacher. She told me she never gives detentions, and she actually tells her classes that at the beginning of the year: 'I don't give detentions; I don't need to'. But anyway, you're right, I've got to not care so much what the other teachers think. What the students think is more important, and I knew deep down I should give a detention, so I should just follow my gut in future. And I won't change the seating plan for at least two weeks! Thanks!
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    To Hell with the other teacher- they have their own dynamic with the kids. You need to build your own relationship. And right now they see you as the soft teacher. You need to take this up a notch and make your mark. So stop worrying about what other teachers think and worry about what the kids need. Which are boundaries and consequences. Once they see that they can't do as they please in your space they'll start- sometimes slowly- to amend their ways. But it can be a long haul for some of them. We carve them into the right shape chip by chip :)

    Good luck


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