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Countering the drama llama, need tips

(13 Posts)
shonkyklingonmakeup Fri 31-Aug-18 06:17:13

I have never been good at this part of my job and my usual technique is "wait until they are 14 and then it stops by itself"

We started back a few weeks ago (international school). We have some new students, so we are back to "storming" as the group finds its feet.

I saw a 13 year old girl on the stairs in the first or second lesson, crying and walking back to her lesson with a teacher who was reassuring her. I don't know what the issue was.

In my lessons, several hours later, it was still ongoing. She was still sad but now she had a crew. There were about four girls who were insistent that they must head to the form teacher with the girl as moral support while she explained something. A couple of them absolutely had to sit with her during the lesson to keep her spirits up. It was imperative that she go find another teacher entirely and inform her of the details of her lesson absence in the morning.

I had to fire fight these requests all lesson and when I made doing those things a more boring option, they weren't interested anymore.

The way I see it: she's having a crisis. Maybe it is for a good reason and maybe it is for a ridiculous reason. As her subject teacher, it's not really my place to judge. I think it is lovely that she is getting support BUT I think the social skills of the group are such that they are riling things up instead. Also, I get the impression that they are not acting out of compassion or altruism so much as they are attracted to the entertainment factor. Adults do the same, right?

What the hell do I do to help them settle the fuck down more quickly and draw ionic bond diagrams in their exercise book?
Is there anything I could be doing pastorally to help calm it down before it becomes a whirlwind after lunch?

OP’s posts: |
ASauvignonADay Fri 31-Aug-18 06:40:22

My advice would be.. don't fuel the fire (don't get sucked into the drama), insist unless an absolute emergency that they focus on the task in hand and see head of year or whoever at lunch or break time, not in lesson time. The HOY or whoever will thank you for them not being allowed to do it in lesson time - it drives me nuts!

Acopyofacopy Fri 31-Aug-18 08:02:15

With drama llamas I take the “she’s a tough bitch” approach: absolutely no change of seating plan, reminder that visits to pastoral or other teachers must take place at break. End of.

shonkyklingonmakeup Fri 31-Aug-18 08:03:35

Love it! I said "ok, you can go see her but you'll have to sign in late" and they changed their minds instantly. "never mind, not that important"

OP’s posts: |
Cynderella Fri 31-Aug-18 10:13:35

With drama llamas I take the “she’s a tough bitch” approach: absolutely no change of seating plan, reminder that visits to pastoral or other teachers must take place at break. End of.


PumpkinPie2016 Fri 31-Aug-18 10:26:20

Agree with don't get sucked into the drama. I teach secondary, albeit in a UK school and there are generally some pupils who love a bit of drama.

Unless it is an absolute emergency, I tell them that Mr/Miss X is busy and they need to wait until break/lunch to see them. I also remind them that unless the work for my lesson is done, it will be done at break/lunch. Then I carry on with the lesson.

This approach generally works and means that they eventually get the message that I don't engage with drama.

I promise I am not totally heartless - if there is a genuine emergency I will deal with it compassionately.

shonkyklingonmakeup Fri 31-Aug-18 16:38:37

That's good. I've been basically doing this. I just wondered if there were more to it!

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LockedOutOfMN Fri 31-Aug-18 19:09:43

The HoY or similar would come and get a student out of class if they were needed urgently, e.g. to provide a witness statement or something. 99 times out of 100 it can wait until break or lunch or at least the end of the lesson.

If a student is having a crisis for some reason then in the immediate short term they probably don't want / need to see a peer, for half an hour or so they want to pour their heart out to an adult (e.g. HoY), phone a parent, or sit quietly (with any available member of staff keeping a discreet eye on them and bringing a cup of water). Again, 99 times out of 100 having a friend - or worse, a group of friends - around just multiplies the drama.

As a classroom teacher I'd make everyone stay in class and get on with work, and give any relevant feedback to the HoY, e.g. "Cristina and Carlota were worried about Claudia in Period 3 today."

Downplay the drama! Kids will respect your clear head and it doesn't mean they will stop coming to you if they have a problem - they don't always / often want to go to the teacher who will make a huge fuss.

LockedOutOfMN Fri 31-Aug-18 19:09:58

P.S. I'm a HoY.

AppleKatie Fri 31-Aug-18 19:18:03

I’m with everyone else. If feeling particularly compassionate 😉 you might offer a ‘well I’m very sorry to hear you are upset, unfortunately Ms X cannot see you until break. I think an hour of thinking about something else might help in the short term, so Ionic bonds...’

shonkyklingonmakeup Sat 01-Sep-18 16:12:13

Like it. I know the teacher they were headed for would not have been impressed to receive them!

OP’s posts: |
Soontobe60 Sat 01-Sep-18 16:19:33

Believe you me, it can be just as bad in primary! The child tends to aim for the most gullible member of staff, often ( but not always) a TA in another class. Followed by various hangers on saying how she needs to see Miss X NOW! I'm really hard- are you dying? Is someone else dying? Go back to class and come to see Miss X at break / dinner / home time.
They usually flounce off with an indignant glare. I smile, tell them they'll be fine, but to come back if they are dying.

ballstoit Tue 04-Sep-18 18:11:24

Agree with most of the above. I find most dramas die pretty quickly when faced with the 'let's take your mind off things by working and if you're still upset we'll chat at break/dinner time' approach.

Strangely, the drama becomes less of an issue on their time instead of mine wink

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