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Worst thing a student ever said to you?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lovejoy_antiques, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Occasional commenter

    I am doing long term supply at an ok school. Despite being 14 or so years in to teaching and despite having worked at more challenging schools in the past I am having trouble with discipline.

    Every lesson seems to descend into a game of whack-a-mole with low level disruption (banging on desks, refusing to be quiet etc) breaking out. You tackle it in one area, it breaks out somewhere else.

    I keep finding myself shouting as this generally gets them quiet (speaking at normal volume just gets ignored!).

    Anyway, I happened to ask a few kids who came back at lunch if this happened in other lessons. Apparently not! One student said (not at all in a snide way which made it actually worse): "I don't know why sir but they just don't have any respect for you".

    This hurt more than the hundreds of times I've been told to foxtrot Oscar! Is this something particular that happens on long term supply where the kids are not sure if you are a 'real teacher' or not? Hence after an initial honeymoon period the playing up begins?

    This has left me feeling quite dejected and thinking about getting out. ( Not that I'm really in), just doing supply gigs in the hope of something else coming along. There was a time when I thought I was good at this job!
    Lolaforever and pepper5 like this.
  2. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    the short version is - Relax its not you & yes I've had the same & yes it does hurt (or at least it did me too)

    Supply & especially long term is tough, I know I've done it, I can't explain why but I think its just the way the kids see you. As in not permanent but at the same time like you say longer than a honeymoon period. Also the subject you are teaching is a major factor.

    I did 2 long stints of a term & 2 terms in the same school teaching different subjects a summer holiday apart.

    One subject was much easier than the other yet I did not change & neither did the kids.
  3. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    Most definitely. I had it when I did supply but more importantly, I can see that's how our students treat the succession of supplies we have in the department. I know they give the "good" supplies as much grief as the "terrible" supplies.
    Yep! It feels like a game to you and there's a good chance the students think that it is. With this analogy, there are two options; refuse to play and stop whacking the moles or don't play fair so that if you manage to whack one of the moles, you make sure it isn't going to get up again.
    What I found is that speaking at normal volume doesn't necessarily get ignored, it's just far less interesting than someone shouting...
    … so you know that shouting isn't sustainable. You'll also know from your previous experience that the most important thing for challenging students is consistency. Probably something even the "ok" school has struggled to provide for its students.
    By all means, get out... but I just want to pick out that last point - I think you ARE good at your job. If you weren't, you would never have posted this because you wouldn't care.
  4. ms honey

    ms honey New commenter

    Sorry you're feeling rubbish, I'm also supply, but primary, so don't have to face the level, imo, of abuse you do. Can't think of any one thing but in the past have faced classes with a total lack of respect, Try not to take it too personally, sometimes you just don't gel with a class
  5. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I got called an 'interfering old biddy' today. On supply in a class of year 4's at a rough school in our town. I'm only 39!!!!!!

    I find the disrespect and kids blatantlg ignoring me more annoying to be honest and I think it's getting worse. I'm pretty strict and I definitely spend more time I sorting on good behaviour lately.
  6. a1976

    a1976 Occasional commenter

    Okay, well, I can tell you a shocking thing that came from the mouth of a member of staff. I was doing supply at a supposedly good school and in my small village where I've lived for years. But I had one particular year eight student give me attitude when she came in fifteen minutes after the start of the lesson. When asked her why she was late, her response was ,"I don't know. Because I am I guess". I sent her back out but was then told my one of the members of staff that this little darling was upset because her father and mother were upset with her because she took her mother's credit card and spent several hundred pounds for phone credit and to excuse her behaviour.

    At this same school, I was told by some students (year ten boys) that I can't move chatting and disruptive students to different empty seats in the classroom because "I'm not the teacher".

    In my first school (when I first started teaching before choosing to go on supply), I was called a "fa**ot" by a student.
  7. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    I'm 6 5, 20+ stone, shaved head and long goatee
    CWadd, bea35, agathamorse and 2 others like this.
  8. livingstone83

    livingstone83 Occasional commenter

    How unbelievably ridiculous...….. Grannies are never taller than 6 foot.
  9. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    I've been yelled at, sworn at and thumped but the worst was when a pupil said
    " We were moving house but it fell through so I'm not leaving now"
  10. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Occasional commenter

    Reflecting back on my original post and today as a whole. Jesus Christ i was Mr shouty teacher today.
  11. petordream

    petordream New commenter

    You should never shout? I don't teach secondary but I've got some REALLY rotten years 6s and shouting is extremely counter-productive...not sure though tbh I'm not expert but read a few bookz.
    pepper5 likes this.
  12. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Occasional commenter

    It starts with raising your voice to be heard, establishing some quiet...and then some young scamp spoils it...so you calmly challenge that..then it bubbles up elsewhere...repeat x 12.... Then you suddenly find yourself shouting and think 'what am I doing? I really don't want to shout at kids!'
  13. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Occasional commenter

    Shouting is counter productive however its a bit like rubbing your eyes when you chop onions. You know you shouldn't as it makes things worse, however you are being irritated to the point where it just happens!
  14. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    On supply with an awful Y4 class one child asked me “Do you go to the gym sir?” Being a bit overweight it was nearly the last straw. Luckily I was only there for the morning.
  15. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    The people who write these books should practice what they preach. They wouldn’t last 5 minutes.
  16. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I honestly can't remember the worst thing a student said to me, such was the student voice's insignificance in the great 30 year scheme of things. That includes the final four years of my career spent on supply.

    I can however recall (on supply) a teacher marching into the room after I'd just outlined the set work, and changing the lesson completely before walking out again without even acknowledging my existence. I can recall an ICT teacher who looked about 12 telling a class of Y7s "Don't worry, Miss [Regular Teacher] is back tomorrow" despite me having more ICT experience than her entire ****ing department put together. I can recall standing in for the Head of ICT for a week and not being allowed any network access because I was only a supply, and I can recall sitting in a staffroom with only one member of regular staff who answered the phone and replied "No, there's nobody here apart from me". Those are the derogatory things I remember most from supply.

    And yes, there were some classes, even on 6 month maternity leave cover, who never accepted my right to teach them, despite my having considerably more years at the chalkface than the person whom I was replacing. Not always bottom set kids either. I had quite smart kids looking down their noses at me for weeks on end because I'd dared to suggest how they might improve their work - Queen Bee syndrome in many cases. Most kids know how to pull adults' strings, and with supply teachers the classic angle is to doubt your authenticity - "Are you a real teacher sir?" (Me thinks:"Do I look like a ****ing hologram son?"). They'll try to exploit any perceived gap in your armour.

    I hasten to add that the majority of kids simply wanted somebody to teach them who knew the subject and who was going to make an effort to help them, but those who couldn't adjust were always around. It was their loss in the end - it just limited my scope for adopting more imaginative and varied approches to learning and it often became an exercise in nagging. I still got paid the same amount for it at the end of the month so sod them.
    Rott Weiler and pepper5 like this.
  17. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I have only really been called stuff in my first couple of years of teaching, when I was baffled to find out that somebody of such diminutive significance in society would care enough about their teacher to call them "the ugliest fu(k on the planet" (which I'm probably not) or, more bafflingly "Shirty McWhirty" (which I am not so sure about because I don't know what it means) . Where do they get this stuff?
    I really don't care what I am called, and this in turn probably is sensed by the kids I teach who never really call me anything any more. To my face at least. But even if they did I would simply look and that is where it becomes disconcerting for a child. No rise, no alarm, no affront, no castigation or retort. Just a look. Then a slightly longer look at their book.And then another look at their face.
    Get called nothing.
    Because I don't care and what they really want more than anything is for somebody somewhere to be bothered by them.
    Jesmond12 likes this.
  18. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Occasional commenter

    Every behaviour cpd I ever attended had the underlying assumption that just one person is playing up and the rest are sitting there like dummies. I've never had any training on facing pack mentality or a well rehearsed pantomime of disruption!
    tenpast7, Jesmond12, saluki and 5 others like this.
  19. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I had a Year 8 girl in my form tell me I was ‘incompetent’, weirdly this was a kid I got on with!
    pepper5 likes this.
  20. tenpast7

    tenpast7 Occasional commenter

    I can remember playing in a staff vs pupil football match. We beat the pupils easily and I played quite well but one scrote who watched the match, that I also taught, said my playing in it was the funniest thing he had ever seen.
    pepper5 likes this.

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