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Working in a PRU! Any advice?

(18 Posts)
YellowLemons Thu 04-Jun-15 09:42:46

After four years as a SAHM... I've just got a job! smile

I'm going to be working at a PRU. I'm a humanities specialist, but will be teaching English, Maths and Science. I'm scared and excited!

Any advice/experiences?

tethersend Thu 04-Jun-15 16:55:28

Congratulations smile

I taught in PRUs for a number of years- MUCH preferred it to mainstream, TBH.

The best piece of advice I could give is- kill them with kindness. Get to know the students, calmly reiterate the boundaries, but forget coming in strict and easing back (a technique favoured by many mainstream teachers), and just be nice. Building relationships is key.

MrsUltracrepidarian Thu 04-Jun-15 18:36:17

Watching with interest as I work as a supply teacher and have found that my greatest interest is working with the 'difficult' and troubled kids - nothing better than getting a lovely smile from a kid that has scowled non-stop for weeks.

YellowLemons Thu 04-Jun-15 22:50:14

Thank you! I shall remember kindness as my mantra. Hopefully years at home with stroppy toddlers will have given me so patience!

blueemerald Fri 05-Jun-15 14:12:43

Totally agree with tethersend. I teaching English in a secondary SEMH (used to be EBD) school. I think kindness, unflappability and humour are your best tools.
I wouldn't show that you are shocked or upset by anything the students say until you know they have enough of a relationship with you to care that you are shocked or upset. Humour is nearly always the best response but avoid sarcasm.

Be interested in the students, there won't be many at the school (we have 45) so you can learn which football teams they support or hobbies they have. A lot of our students don't have anyone who is interested in them as an individual so they are secretly thrilled if you remember thay their team won at the weekend.

Be ruthlessly fair and consistent.

Be pleased to see them every day. Again,our students don't have many adults who are pleased to see them day to day so I think this makes a huge difference.

Be prepared for a more causal, informal relationship with your students.

quellerosiel Fri 05-Jun-15 21:09:45

If they wont engage, shoe horn their interests into the lesson. Ive done a fair bit of cover in a PRU and saw a fab science teacher engage a car mad kid by linking the most unrelated things into something to do with car maintenance.

Arty type things can work wonders if done right, I've seen the most difficult kids brought to a stop with a crochet hook or a stencil book.

Finally the main stay of the one I worked in, card games! If all else failed a game of shed (I knew it in college as shithead but its abbreviated for obvious reasons!) calmed the most rowdy of lessons and sometimes just the fact they managed to stay in the room is a huge achievement.

I genuinely enjoyed my time in a PRU, genuinely think anyone who works in education should do a stint at some point!

CharlesRyder Sat 06-Jun-15 06:59:20

Congratulations and welcome to the world of Challenging Behaviour. You will love it!

Be prepared to feel de-skilled for a couple of weeks but you will get the hang of it. Once you know each child you will learn what pushes their buttons and you will be away.

I genuinely enjoy all aspects of my job and drive in to work smiling every day- and I'm not sure how many teachers can say that these days.

blueemerald Sat 06-Jun-15 12:27:47

That too, Charles Ryder, I'm coming to the end of my second year and I am still crazy in love with my job. I miss it during the holidays (much to my teacher DP's disgust).
There will be days when you want to scream, shout, bang heads together or lock yourself in the cupboard but I imagine there are plenty of days with toddlers like that!

Another great tip is get involved during break and lunch time, if you're any good then play football or whatever sports they are in to, if not then go and watch. Our boys love football, table tennis and Frisbee.
Younger students in particular enjoy beating someone to make a change from the older students winning all the time!

YellowLemons Sun 07-Jun-15 21:22:15

Thank you all so much for the advice here! Can I ask about something else? What type of clothes did you wear? Business suit or more casual? When I went in, my direct boss was wearing jeans (which our code of conduct says is not allowed!) but another colleague was in a smart suit, which looked a little uncomfortable. What do you think?

CharlesRyder Mon 08-Jun-15 06:32:01

I always bear in mind that I may be involved in an RPI so, whilst on the outside I fit in with what colleagues in mainstream wear (obviously not an issue off site) I have always adapted it. At the moment I generally wear suit trousers but the M&S ones with some stretch to them and a reasonably smart top but with a good long vest top underneath and always, always sensible comfortable shoes.

My (lovely) mainstream Head dresses to kill and I often look at her and think- you would be so vulnerable doing my job dressed like that. It is different.

blueemerald Mon 08-Jun-15 17:57:17

We're not allowed to wear jeans or anything ripped/scruffy but everything else is ok. Our behaviour team (do most of the restraints etc) wear smart tracksuit and t shirts. Most male teachers wear chino type trousers and a casual button shirt. Women tend to wear minimum knee length skirts or dresses with modest tops or smart black trousers.

Flat shoes are a must! And keep jewellery to a minimum.

MrsUltracrepidarian Mon 08-Jun-15 21:18:11

What is RPI? Restraining ... ... ?

blueemerald Mon 08-Jun-15 21:39:59

Restrictive Physical Intervention

drspouse Thu 11-Jun-15 20:36:44

My DM was a home tutor before she retired and also did some work in PRUs. She didn't really get on in the PRU but secretly seemed to love the same kids doing home tuition. She used to take a lot of my very young kids' reading books (that I had read aged 6 or so) for them and I think this worked because many of them had low reading ages (not surprisingly) but also had missed out on things younger children had enjoyed e.g the type of holidays or toys shown in even quite young books.
She also used to sit and read the newspaper if they wouldn't work. Queen of ignoring bad behaviour my mum! Not sure how that would fly in a PRU though.

MrsUltracrepidarian Thu 11-Jun-15 20:55:48

OK so not having know what RPI was a few days ago saw it in action yesterday!!! I am a supply teacher and was teaching PE to a Y9 group. Fab lesson, all went well until at the end a fight broke out. Sent a reliable pupil to office next door to get the HoD who returned, and restrained a totally out of control Y9 boy. Was absolutely terrifying.

lolacola1977 Mon 05-Sep-16 16:46:25

Hi all, I know this is an old post but.. slightly different question...I am considering a radical change in career to working in a PRU. I would like some advice about what qualifications I would need and where is the best place to start. I would ideally like to work as a teaching assistant or as a one-one support teacher, I think they are called behaviour assistants (?) as I am not a qualified teacher and think this would suit me better than standing at the front of a classroom.

Anyway, I would be grateful for any advice, I wondered whether PRUs allow people in for work experience and whether I would be best contacting various PRUs near me directly?


Ditsyprint40 Sat 10-Sep-16 08:30:13

Lola - start with some volunteering. Probably start in a mainstream school then move to a PRU

lolacola1977 Sat 10-Sep-16 21:44:34

Funnily enough, have just made some enquiries about shadowing a behaviour mentor in a couple of local schools so we will see!

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