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Year 5 behaviour

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by hana54, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. hana54

    hana54 New commenter

    I have just come back to teaching again after a 2 year break and need your advice on behaviour. I am currently teaching a year 5 class. It is a small class but there are at least 6 really strong characters in it who disrupt every lesson. It is constant 'low level' disruption: talking about completely off topic things, calling out, arguing with each other, talking across the classroom, giving silly answers to make the rest of the class laugh, answering me back, etc. I keep having to stop every 2 minutes to make sure everyone is listening before I speak. I'm finding it really draining and, to be honest, quite upsetting.

    I have tried following the school's behaviour policy and separating the 'characters' so they are not sitting together but it seems to be ineffective with a lot of the boys in the class. I am just so tired of having to fight to get them to listen to me. I have taught year 5 before, I definitely wouldn't consider myself to be a 'soft touch' (although I probably look like I might be!) and have NEVER come across this amount of low level disruption. I don't think it's necessarily a case of them being bored/unable to access the lesson either, but maybe I'm wrong!

    Any tips/advice would be much appreciated!
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi hana54

    What you describe appears to be quite common now and sooner or later you were going to come across this scenario. It is very draining and very upsetting.

    I am not going to repeat the usual things about giving praise, sanctions etc. since you probably know all that. You probably have also read the behaviour policy from back to front and know it by heart. Therefore, I would suggest you try the following:

    On Monday I would put three rules on the board:

    1. Follow instructions fast
    2. Stay on task
    3. Work without disturbing others

    Explain that if anyone continues to not follow those rules, you will be phoning their parents/carers. Year 5s are old enough to understand that everyone needs to cooperate. Explain for the sake of the entire class, you are going to insist on those rules being followed. They are fair. No one could argue they are not fair. Speak to them in a calm and measured tone. This will only take a few minutes.

    Also explain that for those working hard and following your rules those parents will also be informed of their hard work.

    When they start to disrupt, calmly give them a couple of warning. Don't use the board to note the disruption, but hold a small notebook in your hand and write down the names and what they are doing. They will see that you are keeping track. Immediately give praise to the ones doing what you have asked them to do.

    Speak to your line manager to see if you could set up a system of giving two warnings then have the ones disrupting removed. Once they see that you are not going to budge then perhaps they will get the message. Also find out the policy of phoning parents.

    Do not worry as it is nothing you are doing wrong and these characters would behave the same for anyone taking that class.

    I also recommend that you have a look at the Pivotal Education web site as they have a lot of good advice on there.
    johannalawler likes this.
  3. hana54

    hana54 New commenter

    Thanks very much for your advice! I’ve incorporated these ideas into my ‘plan of action’ for Monday. I’ve had a look at the pivotal education website too and contacted them :)
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    You are most welcome.

    Please let us know if you see any improvement and what worked and what didn't.

    I am sure Pivotal will be able to help.

    All the best for tomorrow.
  5. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter

    How did the plan of action go? I too teach a year 5 class (which sounds almost identical to yours!) It is utterly exhausting and the majority of time is spent dealing with backchat, refusal to work and general LOUDNESS.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. hana54

    hana54 New commenter


    I spoke to pivotal on the phone who were incredibly helpful and took the time to give me a few pointers. I spoke to the class very clearly about expectations and put a huge emphasis on positive praise. It worked like a charm for the first lesson and a few weeks later in back at square one. I never thought I was poor at behaviour management before but with this class I feel like I have utterly no presence and it’s really getting me down! Nearly every single child in my class is a notoriously ‘difficult’ student so my situation is slightly different I think. My maths class are fine but the English class I dread. Good luck with your class! Let me know if you have a breakthrough!!
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. MissGatty

    MissGatty New commenter

    Hi hana54,
    I came on here for exactly this reason - my year 5 class is full of bonkers boys, some that do nothing but swing and fall off chairs, some that answer back and down right defy me at every stage, some that are having such a crappy home life they do not care one little bit about trying or being nice to people. I try SO hard to be positive each day, we have effort sticker charts, a bead reward jar with their own chosen rewards at certain stages, positive postcards home and a sparkly box of treats. Not one of these boys cares about any of that! I have started to send certain boys to certain other teachers to work, they don’t rise at all in these other classes and just sit there quietly, so infuriating!!
    I went to SMT for help and the HT observed the class a few times. Obviously, they weren’t anywhere near as bad and my teaching styles were then questioned (which they weren’t in my NQT year the previous year!) I don’t feel I have the support of the HT as we are a ‘school with lots of challenging behaviour’ and it’s almost as if I’m being judged for not coping with ‘the norm’.

    Did you find anything that worked? We are now about to go off for Easter and after battling with them for two terms I’m really not sure how to approach the third!
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    It is difficult unless SLT are supportive. Perhaps you could find a more supportive place to work.

    The type of behaviour you describe is in many schools including secondary. I work as a day today supply teacher and last week I had three year 7 classes with students like yours. In one class towards the end when I was getting the class ready to keave , the class turned chaotic. They were defiant and all not willing to follow basic instructions.

    This is a growing trend and part of the problem is not enough support staff like TAs to assist in large class sizes of 30+ that contain students with varying needs.

    The only real solution in schools is for the SLT to lead from the front and put effective behaviour management systems in place - ones where students are not punished, but rather taught about the concepts of respect and where teamwork is emphasized. To blame your teaching methods is the wrong approach.

    Sometimes using football related material with boys works.
    laurenscott93 likes this.

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