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Expected to teach aggressive student(16 Posts)
Adult education. New student turned up I wasn't expecting. Advised him he couldn't join until September as exam term. He became angry, aggressive, loud. Put hand in front of my face and that of receptionist, asking what planet we were on. I had to ask him to leave. He wouldn't, saying he had letter confirming start date. Left eventually.
He wrote in to complain. Turns out admin and I were wrong. He had been registered months ago and I'd forgotten about the email correspondence about that.
Management want him to come . If it hadn't been for his behaviour, I'd agree. But I'm worried about his anger and wouldn't want to be on my own with him. As also concerned for my students.
We made a genuine error but his reaction was so hostile. Organization doesn't have form in supporting teachers. I don't know what to do.
You need to go to your boss/management. As you said, an honest mistake was made, but nothing excuses his aggressive, hostile reaction. That is completely unacceptable. He made you feel threatened and unsafe, and that can not be tolerated. Please stand up for yourself.
Absolutely stand up for yourselves here. They should have policy and risk assessments in place for unsafe behaviour, ask to see them, and no harm on writing your own risk assessment for this (where the control is, expel the student!)
Thank you for your supportive messages, Acuamarine and LordWhereMyShoes
The service has a safeguarding officer who, I'm told, will be brought in but from experience I know full well that any blame will be apportioned to me and that (though she may put if differently), this man 'kicked off' (as admin described it) because he wasn't allowed to stay. Yes, both admin and I, in that moment, forgot about much earlier correspondence but the anger and aggression was out of all proportion to that mistake.
My students heard it from the classroom (no doubt other classes did too) and I think they'll be rather wary if he turns up next week. I'm nervous, too, and very upset to know that my line manager's first response, via email only, was to ask me to write to her about this incident. Not a word of concern or support - and she knows that I'm an inclusive teacher who rarely, if ever, gets into arguments with students. But this guy was actually scary.
I'll be speaking to my LM on Monday. I know that the organisation will do everything it can to point the finger at me, to admit the student and to leave it at that.
If a student told me he was joining and I didn’t think he should be, I’d ask who he dealt with, look at the letter if he had one, and try to direct him to someone who could resolve the issue. It sounds like you were just very “Computer says no... get out”. Which would make anyone upset. It doesn’t excuse his behaviour but does at least partly explain it.
Does the student have additional needs, or underlying issues that you should have been made aware of that may cause issues with anger or behaviour? If so then I think you’ll struggle to explain why you can’t accommodate his needs or develop appropriate disciplinary and support strategies. He’s been verbally abusive on one single occasion, they won’t expel him for that. There would probably have to be repeated offences or physical abuse before they’ll remove him. You can’t refuse someone access to education just because they have anger issues. The expectation is that his behavioural needs would be addressed and managed to enable him to participate.
In this situation I’d expect the student to join the class, after a meeting in which his behaviour was discussed and he was advised that it’s not acceptable in future. Any additional needs or diagnoses that you need to be aware of should be discussed in full and plans put in place for how any problem behaviour will be handled. If he continues to be angry and violent in the classroom then further action should be taken at that point. As a last resort I’d simply refuse to teach him if he’s genuinely a danger and has proved that in the classroom.
Op you might want to move this to The Staffroom - lots of teachers can advise you there.
He became angry, aggressive, loud. Put hand in front of my face and that of receptionist, asking what planet we were on.
So he wasn't verbally abusive or physically violent? Just aggressive and loud?
I don't really think you can turf him off the course altogether in that situation, when the mistake was yours.
I would, however, insist on a meeting before he starts in which you are very specific about behavioural expectations and consequences if he does this again.
So he couldnt start the course he was signed up for because of your mistake, and now because he didnt have perfect reaction to it, you want to prevent him full stop? I think you owe him an apology and a clean slate
There are signs up in all hospitals, clinics and surgeries stating that aggressive behaviour towards staff will not be tolerated and that anyone exhibiting may will be refused services. This should apply to all public services.
There is no excuse, nothing “explains” such an hostile reaction. Mistakes happen in every organisation, you can’t just scream, shout and get in people’s faces when they do. Imagine the world if we all reacted like that. It’s bad enough with just a few who do.
He needs to be called in, the error apologised for and then made crystal clear before he’s admitted that such behaviour is completely unacceptable. Any repeat incidents, out he goes.
If he turned up certain that he was meant to be joining a course, and had had a letter confirming his start date, it seems odd that you and reception were so absolutely adamant that he couldn't join. Nothing excuses aggressive behaviour, but I'm not surprised that he was frustrated with the fact that he had presumably done everything he was meant to do in order to access this class and then was turned away from it because someone else (not him) didn't know what was going on even though they should have done.
Kateykube speaks total sense.
The guy was treated badly and became angry in frustration at no one listening to him or attempting to resolve it.
He should be allowed to start the course after a meeting/discussion about your error. Apologies are needed from both sides.
This was human error, as I said. I'm part time (at least in this job) and had forgotten about an email from months ago which said that he'd be registering to join now. We don't normally admit students in the summer term but clearly this got through. Admin, too - registration details would have been available on the computer but they were awash with other students and flustered. He didn't have his paperwork with him - not his fault, just that he didn't.
His reactions did worry me. From the word go, he was very loud and clearly very, very angry. There's nothing to indicate behavioural problems on his assessment sheet but the assessor wouldn't have been expected to do anything other than assess his knowledge level.
I actually agree with pretty well every post here. We made a mistake -and I've said so to admin (yet to speak to manager). He should perhaps be admitted but there should be a conversation about how he manages his behaviour when he's angry. I have to think about my other students as well as myself.
A notice on the wall about behavioural expectations sounds like a good idea. That would be one for the safeguarding officer though I think that she'd have some reservations.
I didn't like his loudness, his gestures and his language. But of course I'll have to discuss how he's admitted to the class - it's just that management have real form in not supporting those of us at the coalface.
Perhaps it would be helpful for someone to interview him more in depth about any additional needs he may have or support he may require. His behaviour doesn’t sound typical and it may be the case that there are undisclosed needs present. Particularly if, as you say, the assessor would only have assessed his knowledge level and nothing else.
I think you need to cut the guy some
It may have been a big deal for him, his first day in education, perhaps he has suffered rejection before and here he was being told to leave by the very people who were responsible for him.
Why wasn't there a reminder in your diary about someone starting? Or if he was so adamant why didn't you check your systems? I work in FE myself and this kind of thing shouldn't happen.
You need to give him a second chance, apologise for your cock up, recognise that you both got off on the wrong foot with each other and find a way to make it work.
He is your responsibility and this is part of your job.
it's just that management have real form in not supporting those of us at the coalface
On this one, I wouldn't expect management to necessarily take your side 100%. They would have to view the situation in a context.
I agree that the aggressive response from the student was not appropriate, but sometimes young people of that age haven't yet learned how to channel their emotions appropriately and be able to express their needs, they just 'go off on one' without considering the consequences.
Once he'd cooled down I bet he felt remorseful (been there, done that in my overly hormonal teen years!)
Not saying you should let him off the hook for his outburst, but maybe rebuild some rapport and try to meet him halfway as he did expect to join the course and being told no you can't join the course sent him into a panic.
Thanks for all your comments. Read and considered - thanks.
Actually, this guy is middle aged. He came to class and nothing was said by him or by me. There wasn't time which is maybe as well. I was about to teach and of course welcomed him and he appears to have settled in. I suspect he realises that his behaviour was wrong but he knows that the organisation has apolgised unequivocally.
But there remains an issue about management. There really is a problem there. Remote and hard.