How do you deal with sneaky behaviour?

(52 Posts)
AHardDaysWrite Fri 07-Mar-14 20:56:20

Class of 30 year 11 boys. About 6 lovely ones, 7 hardcore troublemakers and the rest hangers-on who won't instigate poor behaviour but will join in/escalate once it's started. Mostly I deal with it, but this week they've found a new game which is wang a paper ball across the room when I'm not looking. They're seriously quick - I don't turn my back on them, but I can just be looking at one student for a second and one of the others on the other side of the room pings one at someone. Cue loud comments of "did you see that,Miss - it was X", X loudly denies it and blames Y, etc. I know most of the time they deliberately blame the wrong person to get a reaction. It's so frustrating as they're too clever with it to get caught. What do I do? I've tried ignoring it, but that makes me look weak. I've bollocked them all, which works for a short time before they start again. I've kept the whole class in, but I only have them before break once a week - the rest of the time they have to get to their next lesson, and I don't like keeping the whole class back anyway. So what do you do when it's impossible to know who the perpetrator is (and it's clearly more than one anyway). Should add I only started at the school in January so I haven't had time to build much of a relationship with them.

AHardDaysWrite Fri 07-Mar-14 20:57:20

Obviously I've got a seating plan and have separated the troublemakers out, of course, but they are still very able to ping paper balls across the room.

phlebasconsidered Fri 07-Mar-14 21:20:39

I was secondary before primary. This sort of thing I would totally ignore. Just ask someone ( the instigator) to pick the balls up saying "Oh well, that's more time wasted. I suppose it'll mean more lessons in the holidays at Easter". And then really focus in on the good ones, make it palpable how well they are doing because of their listening behaviour, praise others etc. Ignore low level disruption. Big up great work. Make it very clear how they can achive. "X did brilliantly, look how they did this.... and this..... YOU can do this......and this....." Once A, B, C leave X, Y, Z to it, then the class attitude will change. I must admit, I find this easier in Secondary than Primary!

AHardDaysWrite Fri 07-Mar-14 21:25:10

It's just so disruptive. I can't ask the perpetrator to pick it up as I don't know who's doing it (several of them involved anyway). It causes so much disruption as they then shout at each other across the room, ask loudly "can't believe you're not punishing X for this Miss," (cue loud protests from X, laughter from the rest as they know it wasn't him etc...). No point threatening them with holiday lessons. They wouldn't come in and they know it's not something I can follow through with.

Lottiedoubtie Fri 07-Mar-14 21:29:56

I would punish callers out. I would explain (once I had silence), that those who I catch doing something unacceptable will be dealt with. First offence initials on board, second offence departmental detention.

So anyone distracting others by speaking out of turn, laughing loudly and not working etc...

AuntieBrenda Fri 07-Mar-14 21:36:12

Look, they're continuing to do this to get a reaction out of you. You could try feigning absolute boredom with it. I teach all boys and most of them are of the hard nut variety. When I've had this sort of thing I've not broken stride in my teaching, picked up the missile, binned it and carried on. If they yell out etc, do the hand out as s physical gesture for quiet and carry on teaching thing.
You know your class and how they react but mainly, I would go for a reaction of utter boredom with it.

AHardDaysWrite Fri 07-Mar-14 21:36:16

But when they're all doing it at once, Lottie? Apart from about 6, they're all laughing, joking etc whilst this is going on. I do punish any who are being obviously disruptive - I sent two out to work in another classroom today. It's the low-level stuff and the paper throwing that's hard to deal with as it's hard to pin down.

AHardDaysWrite Fri 07-Mar-14 21:38:05

Auntie, that's how I've been dealing with it but it's getting worse. I really do try to look completely bored with the game and don't rise to it. But now I think they think they're just getting away with it. Behaviour has definitely deteriorated over the last week or so.

AHardDaysWrite Fri 07-Mar-14 21:39:47

They ignore the hand out for quiet. The icy stare doesn't work either. They see it as an opportunity to do nothing and mess about.

Goldmandra Fri 07-Mar-14 21:43:31

It causes so much disruption as they then shout at each other across the room, ask loudly "can't believe you're not punishing X for this Miss,

I work in Early Years so this is thought, not experience but how about doling out the sanctions to the ones who call out like this? It sounds like there is far more disruption from the calling out and laughing than from the very short period that the ball is travelling. Perhaps ignore the ball and just deal with what's said instead, e.g. "I choose who gets punished, xxxx, so lets start with you. You will serve a detention for disrupting the lesson by shouting out."

If they don't feel able the follow it up, the ball throwing might then become boring.

AuntieBrenda Fri 07-Mar-14 21:46:11

You need to get hod or hoy in then. If your school policy methods of classroom discipline aren't working, you need to go to the next level. I've been teaching ten years. The worst thing I've ever had is thirteen year old hard nut class who all hid from me. One of them put himself inside the skylight in the ceiling, suspended there with tension like Spider-Man. However bad you think this feels right now, you will laugh at it in the future.
There's a book called 'how to get the buggers to behave' which is quite good. Good luck mate x

AHardDaysWrite Fri 07-Mar-14 21:48:05

I really want to do that - it's just a few of them shout out at once, then others join in, and it's hard to know who's shouting out, and punishing them all becomes difficult. I sound really defeatist here, and I hate it, but I'm struggling. If it was one or two obvious troublecausers that's easy to deal with - its the fact that it's so many making little comments and laughing. I can't give a detention out for laughing, but it is disruptive nonetheless.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 07-Mar-14 21:49:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AHardDaysWrite Fri 07-Mar-14 21:51:05

Auntie I am the hod sad As a result, I've been give the toughest classes who the school most needs to get the results. I've also been teaching ten years but this is my toughest school by a long way. I had to deal with a kid holding a screwdriver against another kid's neck the other day. I will speak to their hoy though.

newbiefrugalgal Fri 07-Mar-14 21:52:18

Could you take in ping pong bats.
Next time it starts get them to all stand up.
Move desks.
Play a game with it for 10-15 min.
Then say right
All done back to work
(Set extra homework for the work missed?!?)

AHardDaysWrite Fri 07-Mar-14 21:52:54

Schmaltzing they have exercise books. They bring the paper with them!

I do the line up, uniform check etc. start of the lessons not normally too bad. Problems normally start about ten minutes in.

littlebluedog12 Fri 07-Mar-14 21:54:00

Agree with Goldmandra, I would be inclined to start punishing the ones who call out/distract the others. Maybe 3 strikes then detention/sent out of classroom/sent to HOY. Perhaps have a teacher in another room or the HOY primed so they know you will be sending kids out to them.

AuntieBrenda, shock and grin at spiderman boy!

AHardDaysWrite Fri 07-Mar-14 21:54:07

Newbie it would be beyond chaos. If I gave them ping pong bats they'd use them as weapons.

melonribena Fri 07-Mar-14 22:05:41

I agree with punishing the ones the call out and ignore the balls. It sounds awful though, good luck!

AuntieBrenda Fri 07-Mar-14 22:06:56

Another strategy - put your tables in boardroom layout and sit with them. Use a small ish whiteboard - you can buy them at just over a3 size - and write on that if needs be. I do this with a hard work yr 10 and it's going alright. That way, you will have their gaze all the time. You can also try giving them a role to perform I the class and see if that works - e.g time keeper, materials manager (feel free to choose non wanky terms!) and this has worked well with younger ones though in my experience.

Spider-Man boy is now residing at her majesty's pleasure. At the time of his antics, I didn't know whether to be mad or impressed to be honest. One of them hid in the recycling bin and popped out like oscar the grouch.

Lottiedoubtie Fri 07-Mar-14 22:07:21

If they all do it at once I'd call for silence and wait it out. (Making up any time over 5 mins in a detention).

I suspect, most of the time, one does it and there is a pause before the next and then it escalates to lots. You need to jump in at the pause, however short it is.

I'm not judging you, this type of behaviour is shit, and I'm not perfect either!

Goldmandra Fri 07-Mar-14 22:39:56

Does it matter if you get the wrong one as long as it's one who's usually part of the disruption? Genuine question as I'm not a secondary teacher.

I just wonder if picking on the most likely culprit and inviting anyone who would like to express an opinion to do so in detention would be acceptable.

Lottiedoubtie Fri 07-Mar-14 22:41:56

Yes that would likely end in a riot. Teenagers have a very strong sense of skewed justice.

That's why I would advocate punishing those you can catch doing wrong, eg, shouting out. If you didn't see the person throwing you can't punish one on guesswork.

Goldmandra Fri 07-Mar-14 22:49:29

If you didn't see the person throwing you can't punish one on guesswork.

I meant the pupil calling out as you'd have a better chance of getting the right person but I guess the same applies.

FunkyBoldRibena Fri 07-Mar-14 22:56:36

I'd give them enough activities to do that they aren't actually bored, and if they did do it I'd look at my watch, walk slowly over to the ball, walk slowly to the bin, drop the paper in and then look at my watch again and say 'that's 2 minutes of my time wasted, which the whole class will need to make up for at the end of x lesson (the one before break).

Or I'd look into whole brain teaching and get them involved in their own learning.

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