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Why some teachers get so much respect and others don't ?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by sebedina, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    I have been in schools where the SAME disruptive year 11 or year 10 class goes suddenly quiet and respectful when a certain teacher walks in.

    I am doing long term cover and I have seen and experienced this many times. To be honest, I am quite easy going, but fair. I think my problem might be not enforcing my seating plan each lesson, but my classes had 6 different classrooms and I found it so hard to keep creating a seating plan for each one, so I let it slide. Then the year 10s and year 11s had lost respect for me so simply sat where they liked and it became too hard for me to try and re-introduce another seating plan. It was becoming farcical because of all the different class room layouts. So I eventually gave up on it. So then of course had behaviour issues.

    I know that I am rubbish at enforcing my seating plan and I have let it slide, so that it is hard to get the pupils back into it. The pupils come in and sit where they like and I find it exhausting to keep reminding them, so then I let it slide. It was really depressing that I couldn't then control the class because of this. Teaching my year 11s from the front of the class became impossible so then I just gave the work out in groups and let them get on with it.

    What other options are there if you are in different classrooms all the time?? I didn't have enough time in the school day and stay late and re-do the seating plans properly and evenings I was too tired. I have a morning and after school run myself, so had to leave at 4.30pm each day.

    However, it is deeply demoralising to see this happening. I feel depressed that I am not able to control the behaviour like some other teachers who get so much respect. I have excellent subject knowledge, so I know that is not the problem. Any suggestions please?
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Some teachers get more respect because they may be senior teachers such as head teachers, deputy heads, assistance heads and so forth.

    You are being way to hard on yourself; you can't help that you are in six different rooms with constant change and with your workload it is understandable you have let things with the seating plan slide.

    Another option may to tell them that you will allow them to sit where they like as long they are on task and do not disturb other; if they disrupt the lesson or are off task, then tell them you reserve the right to move them and if they argue with you they will receive a sanction.

    It sounds as though you may be new to the particular school you are at and if you are new, you haven't had the time to build up the respect that permanent teachers have and also the students may perceive you as a "cover teacher" .

    It sounds as though maybe you need to be a bit more stern; and I mean stern in the sense of being strict - not harsh. Being stern and being harsh are quite different. You have to be stern in your manner so that the students know you mean business. It is something that starts in your head, goes into your heart, and then goes out in the manner you deal with the students. You have to decide that the students will follow your instructions fast and you won't take anything less.

    Please don't feel demoralised: almost everyone faces or has faced what you describe.

    Perhaps in due course you can obtain a permanent job somewhere where you will have your own room.

    At least you have excellent subject knowledge.
  3. I think that being more strict (but fair) will give you better command of the room. Sweat the small stuff!
  4. its about building up respect and reputation. You simply don't have it if you are new. It takes years sometimes.
    Dragonlady30 and pepper5 like this.
  5. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    As a now non teacher that works in a support role, I have also seen the same group of kids behave differently depending on who is in front of them. In some ways, this annoys me greatly, why shouldn't kids give the same respect to all teachers. Controversially as well, sometimes it seems that teachers who have 'command ' of the room get away with shocking lessons in terms of planning/activity etc but the poor all singing all dancing teacher who has spent all weekend on a whizz bang lesson doesn't get the respect!

    However........to some extent behaviour management is what you put in = what you get out. Even those teachers who seem to have the command do have to reinforce it and probably had to have a period of establishing themselves at first. Its disheartening in many ways but behaviour management is not a battle, its the whole war from when you have them in Y7 (or Y1 or early years!) to upper sixth! Where it gets horribly unfair in may ways is that some people just have that 'I am the alpha male/female in here' body language, others don't.

    Accept perhaps that on supply you are always going to be regarded as lower in the food chain as a regular teacher unless you openly challenge this stereotype. (I did a period on supply and I tried this - it does work with some groups.) However, if on long term supply you have to be as conversant using the school's disciplinary policy as the permanent staff. If the kids know you can give the same punishments, they should learn. If you want centain behaviour, you may have to fight hard to get it.

    Ultimately, people can say what they like though about behaviour management. It won't alter the fact that there are some very challenging kids in some very challenging classes and schools that will tell you to **** *** however much Sue Palmer or similar you throw at them.
    alexandriaas likes this.
  6. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    Interesting post!

    The school that I taught in for eight years had poor behaving kids only respecting the members of staff who acted like them. These members of staff dressed tacky, etc.
  7. apeace2012

    apeace2012 New commenter

    I don't think dress has got much to do with it. I have been in schools that has set very different dress standards for their staff and still got the same level of respect/ disrespect from the same type of pupil. I may of been on of those staff members that dressed tacky as you put it in my previous school, but by the same token I had students who respected me because I made it clear to them where the boundary lies and wasn't afraid of using cal lout where necessary.

    A pupil respect a teacher who:

    Makes it very clear where the boundary is in what they find acceptable and unacceptable

    It not afraid to admit when they are wrong and apologise for it if necessary.

    Is able to speak to a student with a level head, whether in an easy or difficult situation.

    Is able to put past histories behind them and recognise that every student needs a clean slate now and then.
  8. re

    re New commenter

    I tend to agree with apeace. After 34 year teaching in a variety of schools I know that respect is earned over a number of years. There is something strange in a teenager's head - if you taught them in y7 they tend to be still scared of you. Also if a teacher walks in and tells off a class who are acting like a pack of wolves attacking some poor defenceless other teacher, they will get instant obedience. It's all about being top dog in a situation.

    By the way, Andrew07 I have never seen a situation in which dressing down to the kids level or 'getting down with the kidz' has earned anything but derision, as will a lack of ability to use grammar.
  9. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    Well maybe that explains why students behaved the way they did where I used to work.
  10. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

    Familiarity is a massive factor. As a supply teacher I find it gets easier each time I go back to a school, and even those that were a nightmare at first are more respectful after a while. Today I was in a school I haven't been in since Xmas, when I was there for several days over a couple of weeks. One of the first pupils I saw when I go there today was a boy who was a complete nuisance in December, he gave me a lovely smile and said, 'Hello Miss' - it was a familiar face, even tho at the time you would have thought he hated me and had no respect at all.
  11. bananatree84

    bananatree84 Occasional commenter

    PizzoCalabro that is interesting you mention the kid who gave you the lovely smile. I am a trainee and at times feel I struggle to control my class - they are year 1 and tired and a bit boistrous. Even if I send them to the headteacher for misbehaving, they don't hold it against you and smile and wave in the corridors etc. I think children actually appreciate boundaries.
    Landofla likes this.
  12. lovecats10

    lovecats10 New commenter

    Do you have access to a computer in your classes? Could you prepare a seating plan on a PPT - one slide for each class and then just have this on the board ready for when the children arrive? It would require setting up but once done would last and could be a visual reminder as soon as children enter the classroom to find their correct seat?
  13. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    What sanctions can you apply to those who don't follow the seating plan? Our school behaviour policy has removal + a 1 hour detention for "absolute refusal".
    As Cover I frequently have pupils arguing over the seating plan but as I've often used this policy they now move rather than face this sanction.
    bonxie likes this.
  14. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Pupils will generally know who the important staff are .. the ones who make decisions on exclusions or who have the authority to contact parents.They behave for those staff and even cultivate a friendly relationship.
    Then, when Mrs jubilee reports them for outrageous behaviour in her supply class and places them in detention, the pupil gets their SLT or Form teacher involved and swears blind that they were doing nothing wrong. Mrs jubilee just has it in for them for some reason and they are very offended and upset about it!
    SLT bod then explains how Wayne or Waynetta have never caused them any problems and they don't recognise the description that I have painted of the misunderstood pupil. Perhaps there's been some miscommunication going on and we should draw a line under it and start on a fresh page?

    Mrs jubilee sticks to her guns so SLT decides that perhaps an apology is in order from the usually well-behaved pupil and we can all forget about the detention. Said pupil manages to say, "I'm sorry that YOU thought that I was being disruptive!".
    Mrs jubilee says "I don't accept that as an apology for you behaviour, which had more witnesses than just me. You WERE being disruptive and I won't cancel your detention. Are we done now?"
  15. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Well said jubilee...I am going to use your method.
  16. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    You answered your own question. Make a fresh start. Make the seating plans. Insist on them.
  17. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    I'm experiencing exactly the same problem, but it is far more concerning as I am nearing the end of my NQT year. My NQT year has had to be split, as my first post was temporary (one term, extended to two) and then I was on supply for a year. I am at the end of my first term in a new post and my NQT year has been extended by a term because of the split year.
    However, one major concern is behaviour of a couple of classes. Whenever there is an established teacher in the room it is fine. As soon as I am by myself - or with a TA only - there are problems, mainly with establishing a quiet working environment when necessary. The school has been very understanding and is giving me extra support during lessons, but I obviously have to show that I can manage without the support.
    I know a lot of this comes down to being established and known by the students, especially in a small school, but I feel as thiugh I am running out if time.
  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi peter

    Establishing authority comes from a belief in yourself: belief that you are in charge and if you give a reasonable instruction, the class must follow those instructions fast. Have clear rules. Three rules I use are:

    Follow instructions fast
    Stay on task
    Work without disturbing others

    If students choose to break the rules, then give sanctions.

    Give plenty of praise to those who follow the rules.

    Remember YOU are the teacher and it is YOUR class and YOU are the BOSS.

    I work as a supply teacher and as you know supply teaching is tough. Once I got it into my head and truly believed I was in charge and took control with my rules my life became a lot easier. Everyone has choices. I choose not to shout and to speak calmly reminding everyone about what to do and the students will choose whether to follow or not.
  19. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    One teacher I remember whose authority was very clear had the unusual approach of becoming quieter, rather than louder. Soon the pupils learned that if they had to strain to hear him, he was very, very cross with them!
    I think Pepper is right: the starting point is knowing, absolutely knowing, you are in charge.
    xandrahuk and (deleted member) like this.
  20. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Pupils have to know you are in charge too. If you have other teachers in the room you are giving up that authority. Tell pupils you know they can behave and you expect them to behave regardless of who else is in the room.
    JohnJCazorla and needabreak like this.

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