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Y10 - doing no work!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by molclolex, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. molclolex

    molclolex New commenter

    I am running out of ways to get my Y10s to attempt their work (English). They are my favourite class but I have about 1/4 of them who do no work. I have rung home, appealed to them, set detentions etc. They tell me they like English and me, and laugh when I tell them that if they don't start turning it around they will like it (and me) a lot less when they fail. Some of them have very low confidence, but I also have an extremely able student who just sits at the back and chats to his mates. I can get them to be quiet for brief periods, but the energy used is too much. I want them to start writing in silence for extended periods of time - they will only do this if it is part of a formal assessment and even then I will have to send at least two of them out (= lots of paperwork for me and a bad rep with the rest of the department). I have started teaching the 5-6 who are listening and attempting the work and ignoring the rest, but I feel I'm letting them down big time. The behaviour procedures at the school are a joke (I will be leaving - again, I want to get them in good shape before I push off) and when I set detentions I am relying on their good nature to actually turn up. Any ideas?
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi mo

    You are in a very difficult position if the behaviour policy is a joke. You, however, need to be more firm with them.

    Next time you see them, change the seating plan. Don't let them do what they want to do. If they refuse, the. Send them out despite the bad reputation you may get with your department. You are leaving anyway. The head of the department should support you not hinder you.

    Be honest with them. Explain from now on that on such and such days there will be extended periods of writing, so they can prepare themselves for that.

    When you are giving whole class instruction, insist that the students stop talking, listen and take notes.

    Keep calling home and keep records of what you said.

    Believe me, I know all the above is easier said than done. I see classes like this many times on supply: classes who waste hours of valuable teaching and learning time chatting to their mates, putting on makeup, eating in class, on their phones - basically doing anything and everything apart from doing what they are supposed to be doing which is studying. I wonder if they understand they actually are supposed to be doing something. If I ask them to copy two sentences from the board, they feel hard done by. They don't know what putting in hours of study means.

    What they do in their own time is up to them, but in your class, they need go to!low your instructions. If you explain to them younare going to insist on them following your instructions and this is for their benefit then I think they may take note.

    After you have taken reasonable steps to ensure they have had the opportunity to learn and they choose not to, then you have done all you can.

    Schools not having correct behaviour policies in place and department heads not disciplining students are the main reasons I would never work full time in schools.

    Without appropriate behaviour policies in place you are now in a an almost impossible position. You can not rely on the good nature of students turning upmfor detentions.
    tonymars likes this.
  3. molclolex

    molclolex New commenter

    I will have another go with a new seating plan tomorrow - I've started accepting the unacceptable as a way to manage a tough situation, but it's now officially Gone Too Far and I will be breaking this news to them tomorrow...
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi mo

    I will be thinking of you tomorrow and trust it goes well.

    Once you have your seating plan in place, explain to them the new routines. In English there is plenty to do, so you can break it up with different activities so they are kept busy.

    The problem you have is trying to create a desire in them to want to learn - to want to do well. At the very least, they have to understand that they are in school to learn and work hard.

    Stick to your guns and if they don't follow your instructions and are off task during the lessons and disturbing others, give them a couple of warnings then have them removed no matter the inconvenience to you. The others in the class who want to learn have a right not to be disturbed.

    Believe me, it is not easy when you have a class who are a bit lazy and think school is a social club and you are there for their entertainment. I feel your pain and wonder how a department head can't or won't take charge of their department and support the teachers working within a department to discipline the students who are not following instructions and then when you do take action by sending them out, the department gets annoyed.

    I hope you are able to find somewhere where the behaviour policy is better.
  5. molclolex

    molclolex New commenter

    It went very well - mainly because I had them first thing and they are partially sedated until later in the day. We will see how we get on tomorrow when I will be ready to get rid of the ones who can't be bothered. Thanks for the support!
  6. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    This seems to be such a problem and Pepper5 has identified the key issue aptly: "trying to create a desire in them to want to learn." So many teachers struggle with this and it is draining the motivation from so many great teachers.

    Pepper5 has given thorough advice already and it sounds like you're trying lots of ideas and have a desire to do right by them. Hang on to that - you may be leaving but the students are there now and you're doing your best to get something out of them. If necessary, devote some lessons away from the SoW to discuss education more generally, life goals etc and see whether you can get any more of them on your side. Try watching TED talks about eduction, home schooling etc and have some discussion about what it means to learn and how and why they have to put the effort in to get anything out of life. I think you can be quite harsh by Year 10 about what sort of person they want to become, what habits they want, whether they will be lazy or committed etc. They can't blame parents/schools/friends/whatever, it's just their own attitude and effort and it's worth reminding them of this. Successful people may claim they're not working/try to look "cool" in school but tell them that each year you see that the truly smart ones are actually working and will get the grades. They don't want to be the fools who thought everyone was going to fail.

    Set the extended writing as assessments (I know this means a weight of marking for you but in the short term it should have an impact and see what you can do to reduce the load by creating a student friendly AO sheet that you can staple to each essay and simply highlight the appropriate bands). Photocopy any poor efforts and post them home along with the AO sheet showing what they're not achieving.

    It's such a drain on your energy when trying to force students to want to work and I know only too well how difficult and uninspiring GCSE English is these days. It's such a shame! Hang in there, keep forcing the HoD to support you by sending students out and being tough on your own rules (since the school doesn't have the system to support you) and let us know how you get on.
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. molclolex

    molclolex New commenter

    Not great is the quick answer... Afternoon lessons have always been harder, and yesterday was OK-ish - sent four of them out and muddled through the rest. Today was far worse: kept the people sent out yesterday to talk to them at the end of the lesson and you're right about attitudes - they're going to be entrepreneurs, English is a waste of time, when will they ever need to spot assonance in a poem...

    I will keep going - this is my favourite class (despite the horrible behaviour) and I want them to be in a strong position for next year.

    Having said that, I'm finding the increasing level of disruption very rude and exhausting. Somehow I've managed to become an ineffectual auntie figure rather than their goddam teacher! One boy got sent out today after I confiscated his water bottle (for flipping) - he refused to give it to me and - when I finally got it - I put it in the bin (as I said I would). He then got another bottle and came and stood in front of me to drink it as a 'funny' statement. I then sent him out and he complained that I wasn't following the correct behaviour procedures (I was).

    I think I will have to stop the group work as it is just unmanageable and gives too much temptation to muck about.

    Your idea about using the AOs as a quick assessment tool to send home with work is a good one and I will have a go. I'm also going to ask another, supportive and more experienced teacher to come in and observe and give me some pointers - unfortunately her presence will automatically improve the dynamics because they would be embarrassed to behave as badly in front of her.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Mo

    Sorry to hear you have had another exhausting lesson with your favourite class; they are in a good position to have a teacher who cares about their progress.

    Stopping the group work is probably a good idea as they don't have any self discipline to keepmon task and they see group work as free time.

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