to desperately want to leave my job (on verge of walking out) because of this?

(190 Posts)
woodlandfairycreature Tue 10-Dec-13 21:07:13

Help.

I do hang around here, mainly on the weight loss chat boards, but I've had to name-change due to the content.

I am a teacher and I am hugely struggling with one of my classes, to the extent that I am going home crying whenever I have them (three times a week.)

It is a GCSE class. For some reason they have no respect for me and treat me like i'm a big joke. It's very hard to put into words - constant smirks, shaking with laughter, covering mouths, looking away (as clearly looking at me would be so hilarious they just wouldn't be able to cope.) Shouting across the room, then when I follow the school system arguments ensue - "OH MY GOD, I was only TELLING x that I wanted to lend his pen off him!" then discussions with other students about the unfairness of it "She just gave me DETENTION for asking x to lend his pen!" which leads, sometimes, to arguments from others - "You're being unfair!" I do follow the system we have (two warnings/detention) but we can only remove a child in extreme cases and I'd have to go out, phone for help and fill in a referral form and to be honest it's difficult (impossible, really) to do that with four/five kids.

Have contacted home, to no avail. It worked temporarily - most things have a temporary effect - but while I can deal with the more obvious disruption (shouting out) it is the more insidious forms of behaviour that are really upsetting me just now - the constant laughing at me, the mocking of my voice, the accusations that I don't teach them well.

I have them twice tomorrow - I hate Wednesdays.

I will have them this year and next unless they all leave or I do and I just don't know, I have had the most awful year and came close to just walking out Monday. I cannot cope with it any more. Please help me sad

gobbin Sun 15-Dec-13 23:50:12

If control is not the issue then the only way to deal with 'nastiness' is to be unfailingly positive in every interaction and be confident in the understanding that you're there to teach, not to be liked. Chalk this one up to experience.

Addressing the behaviour, not the child, takes it out of the personal realm of 'they don't like me' which is frankly irrelevant with a class like this.

woodlandfairycreature Sat 14-Dec-13 23:40:25

I was in a particularly sensitive mood last week maitland - feeling a bit chirpier now! It IS hard, as I had someone come into a lesson that wasn't going so well (as much because of me feeling unwell and rundown as anything else) and this seemed to lead to a bit of over scrutiny and dare I say micro management. It's easy to feel very stressed and anxious in such instances - I'm sure many of you would if someone was watching you doing your job, waiting for a slip up.

Your DD sounds lovely smile

Bohemian - I don't think you've read the thread. Some people have chosen to interpret it as me having no control but this isn't my complaint at all. My complaint is that I've been treated really nastily by a small group of children in a class. Sorry but it is upsetting and it is destroying to confidence over a period of time.

The problem is I didn't really start the thread asking for advice on my classroom management as it isn't a classroom management issue - I'm following the system and I haven't got packs of wild children charging about. It is more the general atmosphere.

Anyway - I think I've said all I can really, schools are different places, that's all there is to it really, so demanding to know why I can't put children in other rooms/send them out/whatever isn't helpful.

BohemianGirl Sat 14-Dec-13 22:44:36

Harsh but, I want my child taught by someone in control.

If you are the only class out of control then that is an issue regarding you.

If it's the majority of classes, then I'm moving my child to a school with discipline

MaitlandGirl Sat 14-Dec-13 22:38:22

Woodlandfairycreature I have a 15 year old daughter (yr 10 here in NSW) and I read her your first post. She has friends that behave the way some of your class do and she's horrified at the way it's made you feel. She had no idea how bad it can be from the teachers point of view.

She doesn't like teachers that yell at badly behaved students, but she really appreciates the teachers that just stop and wait for the class to be quiet while staring pointedly at those messing about. She also likes it when the teacher asks if that group has anything to add to the class discussion (as mentioned by Mumsyblouse).

She says it gets the rest of the class on side as it disrupts their lessons and by yr10 they, mostly, all want to learn.

Orangeanddemons Fri 13-Dec-13 12:19:52

Woodland Fairy, I think you can send a student out for sneering, making comments about you or laughing at your. It's a poor attitude to learning and is downright rude. In fact I think it's one of the main things you CAN send them out for.

Go for it girl...give as good as you get, they have no right to speak to you like this, and I would say have no right to have the privilege of being taught if they are choosing to sneer.

A colleague was observed by a member of Smt in our school. He sent 5 kids out and still got outstanding....can't you just send them into the corridor or email someone to come and get them, rather than going out to phone. Also have somewhere lined up to send the horrible ones to, and then warn them at the start of the lesson about their rude attitude

Mumsyblouse Fri 13-Dec-13 11:50:23

Dirtydancing- that's kind of what I was getting at.

If you really don't like your job, I'd look about. But if you have liked it up til now, like most of it now, but just feel very vulnerable, I'd chalk it up to a bad class, put some coping strategies in place to get through the year and carry on.

Orangeanddemons Fri 13-Dec-13 11:45:14

Also telling them they are nasty often helps too....

Orangeanddemons Fri 13-Dec-13 11:44:21

Is it mainly boys or girls who are causing the problem?

Orangeanddemons Fri 13-Dec-13 11:43:33

Our H o D has had difficult classes. We recognise that groups can interact badly. If you are HOD can't you organise for them to be moved into other groups? It's quite normals to shift kids between classes to break up difficult groups.

I have found that a class who is horrid in Year 10, can often calm down in Year 11.

I have also found with groups like this, that if I sit at the front and pick them off one by one that can help.

This too shall pass.....what happens if you are really really nice to them, and laugh at them rather than bollocking them? Also telling them openly that you are aware of exactly what they are trying to do. That often stops them in their tracks

Mumsyblouse Fri 13-Dec-13 11:39:57

I know exactly the kind of behaviour that you mean, I teach in HE but every now and again, have a little group, mainly girls, who sigh, huff, roll their eyes, whisper and giggle, look my clothes up and down and then laugh and generally try to make me feel a bit embarrassed about myself. I just do the silent waiting til they've finished, but the eye rolling and exchange of glances continues.

However- the trick is -to simply refuse to feel bad! Why should you feel picked on or embarrassed by some very silly childish young adults who are, to be honest, perhaps not the best students and have to find some other way to bond and look cool. They are just not all that, despite their bravado, why not just think- I'm a professional successful (HoD) woman and they are...not. I don't mean look down on them, I mean see them and their behaviour for what it is and know that you are better than that.

I also pretend I haven't noticed the slumping/eye rolling etc- I just act as if they are perfectly normal members of the class. So, if a question needs answering, and they are messing about or whispering, I say 'let's hear from this group' (the too cool for school group) in a very genuine manner - of course they have nothing to say and look right twerps in front of the class. Again, I don't mean be mean to them- just behave as if they are not doing all this stuff and you simply haven't noticed.

My own feeling is that you are feeling very delicate and upset for some reason in your own private life (sorry if too personal) and this has left you feeling vulnerable to them.

The only way back is to pretend like you are your old self who doesn't give a shit whether they like you or not while being really professional (and a bit distanced) about teaching them.

SpottyDottie Fri 13-Dec-13 11:20:30

How is this class with other teachers? Is it just you? If so, how are the other teachers disciplining them or what strategies do they have in place? If it isn't just you, but others too then there must be something as a collective you can do about it? You need to find out exactly what it is and gain back control.

Good luck op flowers

Slutbucket Fri 13-Dec-13 09:35:48

Why do you think because you lead the department that you can't ask for support from your team? Is it a cultural thing in your team? How would you react if a member of the department came to you and said they had a serious problem? What if you brought it up as an agenda point? Ie how are you finding year eleven because mine are a nightmare? If you can't get support like this you are in the wrong school.

woodlandfairycreature Thu 12-Dec-13 16:35:29

I didn't say I wasn't in control, I said they were being nasty! Bit of a difference? And, how many times now have I said I follow the discipline system??

Millenniumbug1 Thu 12-Dec-13 08:56:17

Follow the discipline procedure to the letter.
Talk to colleagues who also teach this class, find out what they do & do the same.
Don't get emotional.
Here's another angle, if you're not in control & an emergency happened, how would you get them to safety? Would they follow your instructions?
You have to take control of this situation OP, you are the responsible professional here.
Be proactive, talk to your colleagues, team up with 1 if need be.
Good luck!

Halfrek Thu 12-Dec-13 06:18:33

I have an awful class this year but the difference is I have supportive management. I think in your situation I would have to leave. The stress would eat me up.

Kayakinggirl86 Wed 11-Dec-13 23:39:01

Hugs.
I know you are saying that you over reacted last night, and it is not that bad. Trust me it is.
I spent several years in a very unsupportive school, however I was full of excuses about the place.
I had allowed myself to believe that yep it was not perfect but about once a week I had a I love my job moment so it could always be worse!
After 6 months from hell (stated with being pinned against a wall by some year 11s ended with the head shouting at me in front of parents) I left- yep at the time I was worried I had bills ect. But I walked in a job at an amazing school.
Your smt are brain washing you that there is no issue, that you should be able to sort it. They are paid 3 to 4 times what you are they should help you!
Really get on to tes start talking to teacher friends get your self out if there!

DirtyDancingCleanLiving Wed 11-Dec-13 23:19:06

I have scanned through the thread, not read every post so apologies if I have missed something.

Op, in a nutshell, you sound too sensitive. These kids will only continue their behaviour if it's getting the desired effect; and it sounds like you are giving them that desired affect.

They are making you feel uncomfortable and can see this. Turn it around. Make them feel uncomfortable. You need to develop a game face. Completely dead-pan, unimpressed, un-moved. Put the focus on the ringleader or ringleaders. Everytime they interrupt, shout out, whisper, have fake spasms of laughter about something you say or do...stop what you are doing. Focus on them and give them your complete attention. Ask them to share with the class...shush the others and tell them that Johnny (or whoever) has something they'd like to say so can everyone please pay attention to him.

Keep silent and focus on the individual. Keep the rest of the class focused on that individual. It takes a very short amount of time before that person starts feeling like a dickhead and shuts the hell up. I've never seen it fail, even with the most confident/arrogant of individuals.

I have seen the 'humiliation' method work on classes full of the most disruptive teenagers. I have used it myself on a class of difficult 15/16 year olds (I am not a teacher but have conducted business/career-type workshops in comps) and I have used it within a training environment in a room filled with supposed adults who are being disruptive in training sessions.

You need that game face though. The second you blush, stutter or visibly become upset or uncomfortable, they are winning and will continue.

Tapiocapearl Wed 11-Dec-13 22:50:50

I would phone parents every Wednesday if need be. Explain about the rudeness. Keep phoning.

Also can you spend some time getting them to reflect by looking at bullying without discussing the situations
. What it is. Different types of bullying. What bullying says about the bully etc.

For every bit of rudeness can you give them a few mins of a detention, adding up to a longer period.

Really feel feel for you. Must be so upsetting.

BookFairy Wed 11-Dec-13 22:32:32

Oh woodland I really feel for you. I previously worked in Education Support at an FE college and was placed with a class exactly how you describe. It was horrendous. She was a strong and experienced teacher but those boys were awful to her and me. Neither of us was supported by our respective departments or by management. The situation improved for us when we both made our plans to leave, as we could see an end to it.

Make your plan. Don't let it linger on. Stay strong smile

evelynj Wed 11-Dec-13 22:15:32

Op, also not a teacher but echo what hop along says. If they know you are getting irritated by them, it will encourage them. There's a power struggle going on & teenagers feel like adults who don't get to make the decisions. In a way they're right.

Can you do some sort of morning meditation where you don't focus on them? It sounds like they are taking over your headspace & you need to reclaim it. The ideal situation would be for them to know that you're in control. Can you fake feeling at ease & breezy? Making some jokes for a lesson & at least look as if you're not bothered by them? (Easier said than done I know)

If not, then see doc & get signed off. You shouldn't be forced out of a job you love(d) & time off May make them behave better. Awful ad it is, we had a teacher in our school that students viewed her classes as the one to fool around in & wind her up. Sadly she had a breakdown but when she came back, kids were better behaved. Only you know what you can deal with. It sounds like your management is really rubbish not to support you so if you take some sick leave, please don't feel bad-you need to preserve yourself.

And you need to treat yourself out of school so be gentle with yourself & take care

longtallsally2 Wed 11-Dec-13 22:02:16

Oh Woodlands I am glad that it went OK - ex teacher here and I worried about you all night.

My advice to you (apart from looking for a job in a more supportive school - honestly, yours sounds awful) is

a) try to reward the good ones. So put a smiley face on the board, and every-time you have to give someone a warning, try to select someone to praise. X warning for calling out, Y name on board for focusing on the question in hand. X warning for whispering, Y warning for getting started on work quickly. It can be quite therapeutic, for you as well as for the kids, when you are giving out warnings to see the list of names under the smiley face growing quicker.

and b) detach from the nastiness and address it unemotionally, in a bored factual tone of voice, and then move on quickly to engage with/praise a sensible child.

Enjoy your weekend off and keep on posting here. MN will get you through.

HopAlongOnItsOnlyChristmas Wed 11-Dec-13 21:49:39

Hey OP. Not a teacher so can't offer any practical support. But I will say that you have been doing this (and enjoying it) for ten years. You must have helped hundreds of children learn, and you are still doing the same now. These sneering little shits can go fuck themselves. You are a grown up, nothing they say about your appearance etc means shit. In another year they will be out if your life forever, and you will have got through it and carried on doing a great job with the other kids. Those little fuckers will probably be assholes for a good chunk of their lives, if it wasn't you it would be someone else I'm sure. So fuck them off. If you can, just get through their lessons and focus on the things you enjoy about the rest if your job. Every time they get sneery just remember that their opinions matter exactly nothing to you. You will continue to be a good teacher long after they've failed and moved on to bully someone else.

NotAsTired Wed 11-Dec-13 21:11:23

I think with a group like this where the chemistry is so poor you are going to have to work on being positive where you can, set out and maintain clear expectations on behaviour and hide (where you can) that they are getting to you. Acting, after all, is part of the job.

I would personally draw comfort that you only have one group that's like it. It is obviously them, not you! I'm also wondering if the sensitivity about the sneering is linked to your relationships with some of the people within your department - that it has a parallel with your experience there. That you feel an outsider and you are having to work hard than you should have to, to get respect?

misskatamari Wed 11-Dec-13 20:27:52

I'm glad you didn't find today too bad woodland. It's good that on the whole the class are under control - when faced with rudeness I have actually used the good old mumsnet "did you mean to be do rude?" A few times this year and it has actually worked to stop kids in their tracks and look shamefaced. Might be worth a try if it is more rude attitude as opposed to disruptive behaviour.

echt Wed 11-Dec-13 19:38:54

Dear OP. Your school has set up a system that benefits the SLT by making it difficult for you to get their help. By having to leave your classroom to call for help, the class becomes less teachable, and it's your SLT making this happen. Call them on it.

The sneering, laughing at your voice, etc. is bullying, plain and simple. Do get the parents in with the child.

What they are doing has nothing to do with your lesson planning.

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