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Year 6 Behaviour

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by forgottenviola, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. Dear Tom,

    I have worked for many years in a leafy green, predominantly white primary school. In recent years the behaviour has deteriorated, particularly in Y6. In an informal discussion about this with SLT, I said how difficult it is becoming to teach the class (I am the music specialist, so one hour a week), and suggested that we need to try and be proactive in changing the culture of poor behaviour in Year 6 as it is (to my mind) becoming an expectation amongst the children that Y6 is the time to start disrespectful behaviour. (Lunchtime supervisors, TAs, and another part-time teacher are also finding this age-group difficult.) The SLT response was that it was a sign of the times: social media and poor parenting are behind the problem.

    Are other schools experiencing this new wave of behaviour or is it an in-house issue?
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi forgottenviola

    There is a book which you might like to read. I read it five years ago when starting out as a supply teacher. It is called "On the Edge" and is written by Charlie Carrol who left his job as an English teacher in a good school to travel around England as a supply teacher to try and find out why 50% of teachers leave the teaching profession within 5 years of qualifying. In the book he describes the difficult classes and schools he encounters on his journey.

    Since reading that book 5 years ago, I have been working as a supply teacher and can say that I have seen the behaviour in schools become even more challenging. In the area where I live, most of the secondary schools have major problems with behaviour. There are only 2 or three schools where I can go to and know I will have an o.k. day. There are some I now refuse to go to because I just can't face the extreme behaviour any longer. It is hard to say no to schools, but some of the behaviour is very hard to manage and the classes can be dangerous.

    Unless things change, schools will find it hard to find anyone to teach in them.

    There are many reasons why the behaviour is now more difficult to manage and I would probably agree with your SLT about the probable causes and add into the mix mental health issues and family breakdown.
  3. I am not at a "leafy green" primary school, but I do teach Year 6. I have to say, though, that mine don't have the expectation that they can be disrespectful because they are now Year 6. They aren't perfect and they will mess up at times, but they certainly aren't unusually badly behaved. Some of them use foul language when they are on x-box, lots of swearing, lots of "too big for their boots"-type of behaviour. At times, this can carry over into school and the playground, but it certainly isn't accepted as "a sign of the times". (These tend to be children, who have struggled with behaviour issues for the past few years, though...it's not a new thing.) I tend to come down very hard on them, if they are being rude or disrespectful...and most of the other staff would let me know, if they had let themselves down around school. We make a very big deal out of them being the oldest and having to be role models for the younger children.
    I'm probably lucky that the parents of the children I teach are very much on the ball and on the whole very supportive. Most of the children in my class would be mortified, if I had to call their parents in about poor behaviour, particularly rudeness. That is one of the most useful tools - parents, who parent properly and back me up. We are a small school and I talk to parents very frequently out on the playground. It means that even little things will get mentioned and parents are kept informed about their children's behaviour...negative and positive.

    Supply teachers tend to tell me how lovely and wonderful my class have been whenever I've been out (they are also mostly lovely when I'm there...so it's not just because they got rid of me for a little while). The thing is, though, I wouldn't expect anything less from them. They know that. I expect them to be utterly wonderful when they've got cover. It's difficult enough teaching an unknown class. They've got no right to make this more difficult for the person coming in by being a pain. (How does their class teacher deal with them and their behaviour?)
  4. Thank you Dejana and pepper5. Contrasting views, but I am relieved to hear of your class Dejana: ie. there is plenty of hope and the culture can be changed.
  5. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    Very interested to see your post. I teach in secondary but this autumn the year 7 intake are a nightmare. They come from around 25 feeder primaries so seems to be a problem with the cohort and not individual schools.

    The majority can not sit still and have no concept of listening to the teacher. They seem to think it is okay to get up and wander around the room whenever they feel like . They rarely have a pen or pencil and the number of "lost" exercise books beggars belief. Getting homework out of them is near impossible. I could go on and on. I have not heard any one from any department say positive things about them. The very experienced head of year is at her wits end.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi maggie m

    Thanks for posting.

    Do you think it is a case of starting from the beginning with the year 7s and teaching them routines? It is hard to know what the "norm" is anymore and what is reasonable to expect from students in terms of listening to the teacher.

    I was on supply at a school about a week ago and was supporting a year 8 maths class and the teacher was clearly battling to get them even to listen to his very clear explanations on the topic they were covering. From observing this teacher and speaking to him, he clearly knew his topic well and was able to explain it clearly; the problem was he was struggling to get the class to be quiet long enough to listen. He wasn't asking them to be silent for long periods - maybe just three to five minutes and even that was hard for them. Without being able to be quiet and follow an explanation, I don't know how they will ever learn maths.

    I felt very sorry for this teacher as he had them several times a week. I wanted to get up out of my seat ( I was sitting next to a student supporting them) and run from the room screaming after about 20 minutes of their continuous racket.
  7. Why is it hard to know what the "norm" is? I expect pupils to listen when I'm talking, whether they are in Year 1 or in Year 6...I've always expected the Year 8s to listen as well, but haven't covered in that year group for ages now. Anything else is just rude. None of the teachers at my school would find it acceptable to have a child talk over them or have a chat while they were trying to explain something. I recently taught a mixed class, containing children from Reception to Year 6. Not one of them talked while I explained what they were meant to do in the lesson. One of the parents remarked how calm and organised it was in my classroom, despite all the art stuff going on.
    I did have a Reception child interrupt me a little while ago, (apparently, he does that quite frequently...would drive me round the bend)...he got the same reply my Year 6s would have gotten: "I have not asked you to speak. I'm talking, you are listening." It was a mere reflex and I could see the Reception TA giggle in a corner...Mine would have gotten a warning at that point, but I think Reception works slightly differently.

    Yes, Year 7s need to be taught routines and need to be given clear expectations. They need to be taught routines in the same way as every other year group needs to have a repeat of expectations and routines at the beginning of each year. My class have got me for the second year in a row now, but they still had to practise working in silence at the beginning of the year. I would, however, also suggest that they shouldn't be underestimated. Year 6 tend to get a lot of responsibility in most primary schools. My class don't tend to wander around the room aimlessly, but they are happy to get their own resources, if needed. They are also able to use the photocopier and trimmer. They act as sports leaders and school reporters, organising and co-operating for whole-school events. Some of the secondary trainees I've had in my class have been surprised by how independent children can be in UKS2. Then they get to secondary school and suddenly, they are the little ones again,...

    With regard to the current Year 7s. Our Year 6 last year were difficult, as were the classes in our partner schools at that time. It possibly is a cohort issue. My current class is no comparison whatsoever,..although I know the current Year 6 at one of our partner schools are a complete nightmare.

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