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Intimidated by a child

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CanadaMoose91 Wed 29-Mar-17 23:01:00

I feel like I'm being silly about this, as I am the adult in the situation, but please give me some thoughts on what's going on...

I am a primary school teacher and I find one of my students very frightening. I am a small woman, and though this boy is only 9, he is much taller and stronger than me. He has had violent tendencies and often bullies other students, but has never lashed out at a teacher. No known SEN, though English is not his first language.

Obviously I step in whenever I see or am informed of any bullying and immediately take him to the behaviour manager. The issue is, I am very intimidated by this boy and am quite nervous when on my own with him. I do worry for my safety, but the safety of the other children has to come before my own, and he must be removed from play when he shows violence. I also don't want him to walk all over me, so I put on a brave face. But I am so worried!

Am I just being a worry wart? What can I do to make myself less unnerved? Any thoughts are so much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
MrsTwix Wed 29-Mar-17 23:10:41

You need to keep the brave face on. Most children won't hurt a teacher, they know where the line is. Speak to the behaviour manager about how to deal with this maybe, it's difficult for me to say without knowing the child because they are all different.

ThePiglet59 Wed 29-Mar-17 23:12:56

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

PeaFaceMcgee Wed 29-Mar-17 23:14:14

Could you benefit from some general assertiveness or self defence classes? Not saying you'll need them but could help you walk 'taller' iyswim

Wando1986 Wed 29-Mar-17 23:14:24

How small are you if a 9yr old is taller? hmm

hula008 Wed 29-Mar-17 23:15:06

You are a teacher and it's wholly inappropriate to share this on the internet. Discuss with your head of year hmm

MrsTwix Wed 29-Mar-17 23:15:48

Not entirely relevant. Secondary school teachers have the little darlings until 18. Often half the class is bigger than the teacher.

MrsTwix Wed 29-Mar-17 23:16:23

She hasn't named the child the school or herself.

WorraLiberty Wed 29-Mar-17 23:17:00

You need to speak to your line manager surely? They should be supporting you/training you, but unless they know you have a problem, there's not much you can do.

Wando, I'm 5ft 3 and I can think of at least 4 children straight of the top of my head who are taller than me and they're all aged 9-10yrs old.

WorraLiberty Wed 29-Mar-17 23:17:21


CanadaMoose91 Wed 29-Mar-17 23:22:42

He is a big kid - I would've guessed 14 if I saw him in the street, but he is 9. Nothing wrong with his size, some kids are bigger and taller!

I don't see why posting this is an issue - I have given no information out that would harm the child. hmm

Self defense is a good idea, it may also help my confidence with him - I will look into that. Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
CanadaMoose91 Wed 29-Mar-17 23:25:18

I have spoken with my manager, but they weren't at all helpful. They said something about the child that made me feel worse (information of a previous incident) and basically nothing constructive was said.

OP’s posts: |
WorraLiberty Wed 29-Mar-17 23:25:50

OP, there's a topic here called 'The Staff Room'.

It might be an idea to report your thread and asked for it to be moved. I'm sure the teachers who post there can suggest something.

Personally (and I'm not a teacher) I would have thought you'd be trained in how to restrain/deal with a violent child?

But I'm obviously wrong in that assumption.

DJBaggySmalls Wed 29-Mar-17 23:27:36

Its not silly to be afraid of a child. There are courses you can take to learn restraint and management techniques.

AtSea1979 Wed 29-Mar-17 23:32:36

Self defence isn't the best advice in my opinion. Get Team Teach training or whatever they have in your area that is relevant to deescalating children and managing physical behaviour. Speak to the behaviour manager and be honest, they won't be shocked as should help put a behaviour plan in place that gives you confidence and guidelines to use. I work with children with behavioural issues. Albeit 15-19 year olds. Lots of staff feel intimidated by them. I don't. I'm trained to deal with it and I have colleagues who are supportive.

PeaFaceMcgee Wed 29-Mar-17 23:49:13

The self defence suggestion wasn't in relation to learning restraint - it's purely for OP's general confidence.

chastenedButStillSmiling Wed 29-Mar-17 23:54:53

AtSea I was going to reference Team Teach as well!

OP, this is entirely inappropriate and I can't believe you're posting about thisl You need to take this up with your school. If you don't know Team Teach or similar, I can't think why you're in a classroom. He's 9 ffs.

tigerdriverII Thu 30-Mar-17 00:00:14

FFS how can it be inappropriate! I bet every primary school in the country has one huge child and st least one small female teacher. No way is she identifying the child. Leave off with your having a go st OP, she's already in a quite understandable pickle.

TheWoodlander Thu 30-Mar-17 00:00:54

It's not actually irrational to be afraid of someone taller, physically stronger than you, and prone to violent or bullying behaviour. You need the support of the school here.

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Thu 30-Mar-17 00:06:26

I would have thought it might be silly to be worried, but my 10 yo ds came home from school today with a story about one of his classmates bringing a large knife into school today, and stabbing the seats on the school bus- apparently this was a knife with a swastika on the handle, so doesn't sound like a kitchen knife. We have informed the school, but it is very worrying (especially as it is a very nice little school, and I have never heard of anything like this before) Given that, I can see why teachers could be worried...Is there someone else with you in the classroom (eg teaching assistant) that could be with you when you have to remove the boy from the class? Might make you feel a bit less vulnerable. I second going back to your HT and repeating your concerns

chunkymonkey101 Thu 30-Mar-17 00:06:46

You should not be asked to restrain a child unless you have been given the correct training. In most schools it is only the SLT who allowed to do so and it should be done with a second adult present to ensure that you have a witness. If the child is as violent as you say then he should have a behaviour plan which will outline strategies to use. If I were you I would approach my line manager and ask for support and also request to go and observe another teacher with excellent behaviour management with similar children in their class. This is a training issue, you should be equipped to deal with children with behavioural issues and your line manager should support you with training. If your line manager is not helpful you need to take it further.

BoomBoomsCousin Thu 30-Mar-17 00:07:22

YANBU to feel intimidated by someone bigger than you. But it's not necessarily inevitable. Self defence training is rarely a bad idea for confidence building, but what you really need, as others have said, is training in how to manage his behaviour. Avoidance or de-escalation is far better than having to physically defend.

If your management are ineffective will your union help advocate for you? I would have thought this is something that has come up before. In any case, particularly if there have been previous incidents, you need to keep talking to your management team as they are obviously aware there is risk and they are obliged to consider your safety as well as the child's needs.

smallchanceofrain Thu 30-Mar-17 00:10:12

I don't understand why you are posting on here OP. You are an education professional. There is help, training and support available to you. Speak to your line manager and if they don't get you the help you need try the Head, Chair of governors, LEA, your union if you're in one etc, etc, etc. If you are genuinely anxious and have worries about your safety or the safety of your pupils then you need to make some noise. He's 9, you're an adult trained to teach. You have my sympathy but you need to get a grip.

Italiangreyhound Thu 30-Mar-17 00:58:14

Canada nothing to be ashamed of being afraid of a violent bully who is bigger and stronger than you.

I'd suggest this child is not suitable to be in a mainstream school and should be in a special school that meats his needs, can you push for this? If you are scared how do the other kids feel? I think it is mental that the kids (and staff) have to put up with this.

Document all and every incident of aggressive and violent behaviour, for your sake and that of the other kids. (I am sure you are doing this.)

"I have spoken with my manager, but they weren't at all helpful. They said something about the child that made me feel worse (information of a previous incident) and basically nothing constructive was said."

You need to take this higher. I am not a teacher so do not know about all the internal machinations of schools. But I would say:
Speak to you line manager and say you are taking this further
Speak to your union and ask for assistance
Ask for specialist training/self defense classes etc (as you need this for your job could you be reimbursed not just for the cost of the course but also for the time)?

"They said something about the child that made me feel worse (information of a previous incident)" use this information to explain why you should not have to put up with threats or violent, aggressive or inappropriate behaviour.

All the people who think it is inappropriate to post here, why? It is not in slightest identifying. Leave the OP alone, she needs help not mean comments.

Chastened "He's 9 ffs." He's intimidating and violent, FFS!

small I do hate it when people talk about getting a grip. It is so condescending and the rest of your advice is really good.

OP make a fuss, make a noise, keep records of everything said and done in relation to this. Make sure this doesn't jeopardize your future career opportunistic and if you feel it is doing so make a lot more noise and a lot more fuss strategically. And if you are worried about looking weak, do keep pointing out it is the bullied classmates who are seriously in danger from this child.

Italiangreyhound Thu 30-Mar-17 00:58:40

meets his needs.

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