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honest help needed

(69 Posts)
hmb Wed 26-May-04 16:59:52

I'd like some honest, helpful feedback please. Pleas don't let this become a 'slag off teachers' thread as I'm asking for some help

I have two boys in Y7 who are very disruptive. Neither has SEN, and neither is so bright that they are bored with the work. These are two 'normal' (for want of a better word and meaning *no* offense) boys who do not want to work. They don't work in my lessons or anyone elses. When I'm explaining things they chat, clown around and disrupt. When set tasks they do no work unless I stand behind them. They are capable of doing so much better.

The mother of one has voiced her worries and has said that her ds is playing up badly at home.

This is the help I need. As Mothers what would *you* want the teacher to do at this point? I've tried being positive, praisinf approriate behaviour where I see it. I've tried 'tuning out' low level attention seaking (and this has made things *much* worse. Notes sent home. I've given 5 minute DT as break and lunch time. I don't want to come down heavy, but that seems to be the way that things are going. Help! What would *you* want me to do????

shortcake Wed 26-May-04 17:15:26

I'd want you to give him a good talking to. Lay it on the line and tell him that there are good things about him/his work/behaviour but the rest is just NOT acceptable - give him a stern lecture and specific targets. Also let him know what sanctions you will be taking if he doesn't tow the line. Then ask him how he thinks he can help himself - perhaps they know they need to sit somewhere else or they need a record book sent home each night - I bet they know more about themselves than they let on!! But be tough but fair now and it will be a really fantastic foundation for them.

dinosaur Wed 26-May-04 17:18:19

This is all very theoretical, as my two are still little but I think my reaction is: COME DOWN HEAVY!

shortcake Wed 26-May-04 17:21:38

I would feel let down as a parent if you knew about this but didn't tackle it head on!!! You ahve to for the sake of the opther kids in the class as well.

WideWebWitch Wed 26-May-04 17:25:47

I'd want you to talk to me hmb, suggest how you'd like to try to tackle it (i.e. come down heavy on him but get parental agreement) and then do it and agree a date when you'd review it again with me. I#d want you to ask me if I had any suggestions too. Then I'd post on mumsnet about how worried I was about my boy to ask if anyone had any ideas

hmb Wed 26-May-04 17:29:08

Thanks for this. There parents are aware, and HOY will be contacting them about their behaviour is *lots* of classes. So HOY will do the consultation. They are also getting a 'chat' with the HOD tomorrow. I'm interested what people would like a class teacher to do in these situations, so the feedback has been very helpful.

I set them a specfic target today of starting work as soon as I give it, without making a fuss. I don't want to ask for miracles, so a small step at first!

Jimjams Wed 26-May-04 18:25:22

All good advice- but as a parent I particularly like being asked if there's anything I've found that works at home. Behavioural problems have always been sorted out as a group at school (me and the 2 people who work with ds1) and it seems to work well. We use the same approach at home as well so everyone knows who is doing what.

dogwalker Wed 26-May-04 18:33:05

Nice to know that you teachers are aware of when individual pupils are playing you up - my son will be starting in y7 in Sept and I would hate to think that he was behaving like this, or that others in his class were like this and possibly disrupting his learning. I agree with one of the other posts, COME DOWN HEAVY, as if they think they can get away with it now in y7, it will probably get worse instead of better.

frogs Wed 26-May-04 18:46:22

Personally, as the parent of two (primary) school-aged children who are both reasonably bright and (usually) well-behaved, if they are out of order in a way that isn't just a one-off I am more than happy for the school to take a tough line.

Having said that, I would appreciate being kept informed, and I would want to be assured that the school had got its facts right, which is sounds as if you have.


lou33 Wed 26-May-04 19:33:30

As a parent of a dd in yr 7 I would want you to come down firmly on any disruptive behaviour. It sounds as though at least one of the parents feel the same way. If dd1 wasn't behaving as expected in her classes, I would firstly like to be told about it, and given examples of her behaviour, then secondly, I would support the teacher in what they decided the appropriate action should be.

Batters Wed 26-May-04 20:27:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SofiaAmes Wed 26-May-04 21:50:01

Perhaps you've done this already, but have you tried putting them at opposite ends of the class or next to very studious children who might be a calming influence. Otherwise, it sounds like you are doing the right thing in talking to the parents and certainly being very very firm about what is acceptable behavior.

My stepson was having troubles at school from a very very early age, but the school didn't start talking to my dh until several years later as they assumed he was a non-participatory father as he was not with ss's mother, even though he had parental authority and school reports were being sent to him. Unfortunately even the school reports were whitewashed and didn't give a true indication of the behavioural problems. Once my dh got involved, he was able to help quite a bit as he reinforced the teacher while ss's mother didn't. All of this is to say that it might be worth digging a little further into the parental situation of the children if it's not straightforward.

hmb Wed 26-May-04 21:54:37

Thank you for all the feed back.

I have thought about moving them. The trouble with the class is that there is a lot of low level disruption going on and almost anyone I sit these two next two will rise to the cahllence, with the exception of a few very quiet girls who would be *horrified* at having to sit next to these two cherubs! I am planning a re-seating, but it will be a tough one and will take some careful thought to come up with the right 'candidates'.

I just wish that these kids would realise that we would *all* have a better time if they would just calm down when needed Ah well, such is life. It is just tough on the rest of the class as I can't teach the sorts of lessons that I would like as these two would run riot.

hmb Wed 26-May-04 21:55:36

I don't know the set up with one child, but I do know the other. Very supportive, nice family, no obvious problems.

Hulababy Wed 26-May-04 21:56:17

hmb - had a bit too much to drink tonight to reply with any comments on how I might go about anything (or nayhting that has worked for me) right now. Lots of the advice given however sounds great and what you are doing does too. I will re-read and respond properly tomorrow.

Did want to say how useful that I have found these parental comments/advice too, and I hope I can put some of them to use.

robinw Thu 27-May-04 06:14:59

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robinw Thu 27-May-04 06:21:20

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hmb Thu 27-May-04 06:26:27

The reason that the HOY is having the consultation is that these boys are difficult and disruptive in all of their lessons. I am not exagerating, all teachers have written in their homework diaries and sent the information home. So the parents would have around 10 teachers contacting them, which I think might leave the parents feeling picked on?

The Y7 parents evening was 6 weeks ago(they had a different teacher on the normal rotation) and this was discussed with them then. Both boys have been on the school's formal reporting system already and this has been discussed with the families.

And I have not intimated that 'I know these boys better than their parents', please don't make this a teacher bashing exercise, it was you I was thinking about when I asked for this to be a positive experience.

Oh, and I have discussed this with one parent, she voiced her worries to me in the first place. I also teach her.

jampot Thu 27-May-04 06:57:30

If it were my daughter playing up (I only say this because she's closer in age to this child than my son) I would want the teacher to do everything you've done so far and then give her a good talking to, asking about home life, peer pressure, etc. It may be that this/these children don't stand out anywhere else so if they can have the handle "class clown" it's better than being "nothing". In the extreme could you make them sit outside the class to do their work? but instead of sending them out of the class, can they have their desks there all the time so the attention is not on them?

hmb Thu 27-May-04 07:00:21

Interesting that you should say that as one is very lacking in confidence in his abilities (which are quite reasonable for a boy of his age). The other has oodles of confidence, so I think that we are going to have to aproach the two at different angles. There is a chance that we can place them to work in a sixthform class, but at the moment they are on study leave!

fisil Thu 27-May-04 07:55:17

As a HoD in a school with a lot of behvaioural difficulties I often have to support colleagues in helping children like the ones you describe. One thing I always say (which you certainly don't need telling) is not to lose sight of the desired outcome - that these students are able to work well and achieve. It is not a simple matter of punishment and then they'll improve. So yes, everything that has been said about consultation and communication with parents is spot on, and looking at them both individually and their reasons for this behaviour.
Internal exclusion works brilliantly with some students, ignoring the trivial and rewarding effort works with others.
Getting the parents in is usually very effective, as Robinw says especially to come to lessons to.
Giving the students a special responsibility works with some (board cleaning, putting out books - I've had it work even at KS4!), or different work for when they are not able to cope with mainstream work (although this is usually only effective with seriously disafected students).
Sometimes a quiet word with the rest of the class that ignoring the disruption will be rewarded can help - but it has to be very very sensitively handled (I managed this with a GCSE class a few years back - child A sat at the back of the room and when he started yelling out abuse everyone made an effort to focus on the work - and that was my highest ever value added for a GCSE group!).
DT is sometimes effective if it is used to discuss behaviour, but you do have to be careful that you are treating as a punishment (staying in the classroom and working) something that you actually want to be the eventual positive outcome.
Sending out is also limited in its effectiveness, as it can become a reward. It sounds to me like you are on exactly the right tracks - thinking about the individual and going for maximum consultation with colleagues and parents.

They are lucky to have such a good and caring teacher. Good luck in turning the situation around.

tigermoth Thu 27-May-04 08:10:51

haven't read any of the messages but here goes.
hmb you are describing my son x2. Not my son now, so much but my son in year 4.

As a parent what helped me was a behaviour book, so, I had easy two way commuication with his teacher, without endless chats after school. If my son was inattentive and silly at school, I always knew. Pattens emerged - we saw if my son was anticipating something exicting, his behavoiur degenerated for days beforehand. The teacher and I set home and school behaviour targets for him - rewards and punishments dependent on his behaviour 24/7. At one point I was giving my son £5.00 for being good for 3 consecutive days and his teacher gave him double bonus points, which worked really well. Then it worked too well and got expensive for me!

Anyway, the teacher was in her twenties, trendy, very passionate about her subject and, according to my son, very strict with high expectations of him. She was on his case all the time. English and music were her best subjects. They are my son's favourite subjects too. For all these reasons he really liked her, respected her and, underneath, wanted to please her. She is still his favourite teacher and he hopes to have her in year 6.

Over year 4 his behaviour and performance improved a lot and he is having a good, peaceful time in year 5 on the whole. The head teacher says he has hugely improved.

Now I asked my son a while ago why he thought he was better behaved now at school. The answer shocked me. He said the single most important reason was to avoid the punishments the teachers gave to naughty children. The punishments he hated the most involved a bit of humiliation - being sent to work with the infants, being made to sit cross legged facting the wall in the the headmasters office. On one occasion, when he was fiddling with his pencil sharpener incessantly, he had to go into each classroom and ask a pupil to show him how to sharpen a pencil. He never really complained about these things to me at the time - in fact he felt they were fair when I talked to him about them. He know he had pushed it and pushed it in the classroom. He accepted the punishments because the teachers were so good, if that makes sense, and he felt valued.

So to sum up, a behaviour book, rewards, good teachers who don't let anything pass unnoticed, plus a small dash of old fashioned humiliation-based punishment seemed to work.


tigermoth Thu 27-May-04 23:29:08

read the thread properly now.
Just wanted to add that my son would say his bad behaviour was caused by sitting next to 'so and so' He said he really wanted the teacher to move him and was cross that she didn't. I used to tell him he needed to get more self control - he was lacking in that.

It really helped when he sat next to quieter, calmer children. I realise that parents of 'good' children may not want to feel their child is being used to keep another child in line. Indeed, my son never really hit it off with any of the 'good' girls he sat next to. He is not into girls. However, once he had made friends with a 'good' boy and sat next to him, he found it so much easier to stay out of trouble in class. So hmb, is there any way you can engineer better friendships between the boys in your class? probably not, but anyway I thought I'd mention it.

hmb Fri 28-May-04 06:29:12

Just a bit of feed back.

Having had lots of discussions with other members of staff it would seem that these two are running out of control and the general behaviour of the whole class is getting worse. they are coming to the end of Y7 and are starting to feel a little cocky. A TA who spends all her time with this class told me that they are the same in all thier classes.

So taking your advice (HOY is having a chat with the families), I came dowm hard. The whole class was calmly (but *very* firmly )read the school rules) and I told them that if any of them stepped out of line a letter would be going home. To add to the drama I had a pile of filled envelopes, un-addressed in front of me. I told them that these contained the letters home and I would add addresses as the lesson went on if I needed to (didn't). I split up the class and sat them boy/girl and told them that it was *their* behaviour that had dictated this. I appologised to those kids in the class that *have* been behaving, but explained that no-one was learning as well as they should because of the level of disruption.

The two cherums got a very firm talking to by the HOD.

Worked a treat. Than you for the feed back, it gave me the confidence to be as firm as I needed to be!

robinw Fri 28-May-04 07:31:40

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