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Standard behaviour in secondary schools?

(22 Posts)
Beytwice Thu 02-Mar-17 13:56:09

Hello folks,

It's yet another "I'm thinking about a PGCE" thread! The only thing that puts me off is wondering what kind of behaviour I would have to deal with. Are physical fights, swearing at teachers, knives, drugs etc. really that common?What's your experience been?

mumsneedwine Thu 02-Mar-17 16:04:45

No. Do not believe the Daily Fail

blueirishues Thu 02-Mar-17 16:07:59

No, you get the odd fight. Swearing at teachers is unusual but not unheard of. More common is the 'fucks SAKE' as they walk away. Never had knives or drugs myself (!) and I've worked in some shite schools. I was once a Lead Teacher (paid on the leadership scale but just a normal class teacher coz they couldn't recruit anyone) at one of the most deprived wards in the UK <proud> and no knives or drugs.

It's exhausting though. And in a strange way the low level but constant poor behaviour is worse!

fourcorneredcircle Thu 02-Mar-17 20:08:18

Wot blue said. The odd fight, a lot of under the breath muttering etc. Eye rolling, general teenage mardiness. But not all day, every day by a long shot.

In ten years I've known of one incident with drugs in school - student swiftly excluded, although occasionally there have been suspicions about a kid smoking weed at lunch or something... never known one caught though.

One incident of a knife in school which was discovered and student swiftly removed.

One incident of sexual assault (boyfriend against girlfriend), again, student swiftly removed.

I must have taught over 5000 students now... not such terrible statistics!

needsahalo Thu 02-Mar-17 20:39:07

I work in a RI school in a deprived area. Someone crunched some statistics recently - it was something lime 18 kids being responsible for 95% of incidents.

You do need a no nonsense attitude to make it work cos the low level stuff can wear you down.

Beytwice Thu 02-Mar-17 21:02:57

Right, thanks folks. I was actually going to add "or is the low-level disruption that wears you down?", only it deleted itself.

I'd heard of a knife incident once from a teacher in a city school, which is what made me wonder.

fruityb Thu 02-Mar-17 21:06:07

Never had dangerous weapons or anything. Dealt with fights and one time actually picked the kid up in front of me! It was a case of thinking "will this kid complain? No, yoink!" Been sworn at many times and taught one particularly aggressive arsehole who was later excluded anyway. Kids have tempers and are raging bags of hormones.

Have to say these are not regular and I've been teaching ten years. The good far outweighs the bad and it's usually the staff that are the issue anyway

Thirtyrock39 Thu 02-Mar-17 21:12:06

massively depends on the teachers managing of behaviour. If you can get this right you'll have very few issues. As a secondary school teacher in a pre children life I would have groups that would play me up something rotten but be complete Angels for their head of year etc ... the low level stuff is hardest and if you don't address this bigger stuff soon follows...by bigger stuff you'll find the worse kids get more obnoxious and the other kids will take the lead from this. You have to really work hard at establishing yourself . Once this is cracked it's a lot easier ...this is why it's hard sometimes observing extavlishedvteachers as they often make it look easy but they will have spent a lot of time getting the boundaries right and enforcing expectations.

BackforGood Thu 02-Mar-17 21:27:39

Massively depends on the area, and also the individual schools.
There are lots of schools with either on site police officers, or with metal detector entrance things so you can detect knives.
There are schools that are in areas of the city where gangs are rife and that obviously comes through into the teenagers at schools. OTOH there will be thousands of teachers that never encounter knife crime.
Each of the 3 (Primary) schools I've taught in, there have been incidents involving fighting parents or attacks on staff, or one sad incident where a parent with mental health issues came into school with a kitchen knife, so these things do happen, but they aren't commonplace or regular.

Postagestamppat Fri 03-Mar-17 09:23:21

As a pp said, it's not the big, attention-grabbing shocking behaviour that is the problem. It is the low-level behaviour problems that are the bain of a teacher's life and can break you - talking when your talking, ignoring you, calling out in class, wandering around, doing bugger all work, passing notes, sneaky looks at phones, eye-rolling, rudeness. The list goes on.

Some people are born with magic gift for getting them to behave from day one. But they are far and few between. For the rest of us normal people, it can take years to get it. Don't let it put you off though, if you get the right school with the right kids, it is great job.

blueirishues Fri 03-Mar-17 11:18:10

Really, Back? Outing myself here but from inner city Liverpool to Blackpool to London I've never known metal dectectors!

Beytwice Fri 03-Mar-17 17:15:37

That's a surprise to me too blue, I thought metal detectors were only used in US schools...

Merlin40 Sat 04-Mar-17 08:22:58

I've heard of metal detectors, but never experienced them!

Agree with others, totally depends on the school. To be honest as a subject teacher, you probably wouldn't be dealing with any issues surrounding knives, drugs etc other than reporting concerns or disclosures about them.

We do have the odd fight, never particularly 'nasty' and a good level of supervision means they're usually separated before they've even begun. That said, we don't have much of a fighting culture and the kids know the consequences. This could be different in a different setting.

Poor classroom behaviour is more low level disruption, and occasionally rudeness. Depends how secure the schools behaviour systems are.

But as said about 90% of the kids are an absolute dream!

MaisyPops Mon 06-Mar-17 20:16:35

Very teacher dependent and school dependent.
If you develop a range of strategies and challenge/support your classes they'll be amazingly well behaved.
If you're inconsistent, let things slide (e.g. talking whilst you're talking, homework) the the kids work out you're not going yo sanction them so they act up.

I've working in leafy suburb schools and rough urban schools. Fights happen but not often and most kids really want to do well. If you're calm and consistent you'll be fine.
Most of all don't believe some of thr things you read in the press

FartnissEverbeans Fri 17-Mar-17 03:56:34

If you're consistent with sanctions and build up good relationships with the students you won't have too much bother. Low level bad behavior is definitely worse imo but there are ways of dealing with that - you do need good backup from SLT though or else the school can develop a really disrespectful culture. I left one school for that reason.

I've had swearing in my general direction a few times but it's easily forgiven. A lot of the time the naughtiest children are the most rewarding. I've only seen a few fights and usually only a tiny bit of intervention is required because most of them don't really want to be fighting anyway!

Teachers' working conditions in the U.K. aren't great, so I moved abroad where I earn a lot more money for working in a much calmer environment. It's the best job in the world, honestly - I bloody love it.

Biggest problem is the other teachers grin

hesterton Fri 17-Mar-17 04:17:10

I've dealt with one knife incident and one drug incident in school and both were more than 15 years ago. That's with working in the most deprived areas and 'toughest' schools.

But it's a relentless job. The biggest issue isn't always the students - it's the grind for meeting often impossible targets which mean you as the teachers are caught in a horrible place sometimes. It's hard to be in a job where no matter how hard and smart you work, you will still 'fail' in some ways.

I'm awake now because of the overwhelming sense of that and I'm only part time. It's a hideous time of year for teachers.

Having said that, bits of the job are wonderful as are most of the young people we work with day to day.

You do, however, need the most amazing resilience and the stamina of a demented ox.

MumBod Fri 17-Mar-17 05:00:59

I worked in a small rural secondary.

I was sworn at, witnessed an incident when one lad stormed into a class to attack another student because he'd nicked his grinder (some drug paraphernalia or other), was hit over the head with a textbook, threatened with a chair, had a parent storm into my classroom and verbally abuse me for giving her daughter a detention, called a bitch, had to calm down a supply teacher who was about to attack a student...these events were over the course of two years.

Then there's the day to day poor behaviour. Refusal to work, refusal to stay in the classroom, sleeping in lessons due to being up all night, talking at inappropriate times, looking at phones, deliberately fucking up observed lessons...

Then there's the shit you get from management. Dealing with all the above while constantly having the threat of Ofsted held over your head, being made accountable for the attainment of kids that just won't work, endless obs, learning walks, etc etc.

Think carefully, OP. Look at schools in your area if you are planning to stay where you live. Go and volunteer and really watch what goes on.

It can be wonderful, but the wonderful moments were few and far between at the school I worked in, and didn't make up for the relentless misery of the rest of the time.

LittleIda Fri 17-Mar-17 07:08:49

it's the grind for meeting often impossible targets which mean you as the teachers are caught in a horrible place sometimes

I wondered about this as dd was given a target of 8 for games despite not being that good at it (her first end of term grade was a 3) she gets good effort grades for it though so i chose to ignore it as being unrealistic. So is her games teacher held to account if she doesn't achieve an 8 despite it being unrealistic? People with kids who are good at sport have said their child has an unrealistically low target.

tadjennyp Fri 17-Mar-17 07:33:29

Yes, we are held to account for all the grades in our groups and in our school you have to prove it was not your bad teaching that meant they didn't achieve those often unrealistic grades.

LittleIda Fri 17-Mar-17 07:47:31

That's bonkers. It would make more sense basing the target on an assessment at games on entering the school. (I realise it's the government who judge the school by the target and not the fault of the school.)

tissuesosoft Tue 21-Mar-17 23:34:56

The school where I work very frequently throughout the day has students swearsing at staff ranging from fuck off to calling them a cunt. Fights are regular- few times a week. I have been physically assaulted by students (this is a mainstream secondary in a very nice area).

Beytwice Sun 26-Mar-17 17:24:32

Mixed bag of experiences then. I'm currently volunteering in a primary on Thursdays and find that the older boys in particular can be really cheeky shock

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