Advanced search

What now?

(37 Posts)
Gigis Tue 15-Oct-19 17:05:32

New to this school and think it's not the right school for me but determined to stay the year. Have tried to be so positive in lessons, with the team etc to get over the feeling that I've made a huge mistake.

Yesterday a kid swore at me. Not in a fuck off way (Not that that's ok), they actually called me a cunt. To my face. In front of the whole class, who already are challenging.

School has so far been supportive, e.g. head is apparently personally dealing with it (although no one is sure what that means other than he'll phone home instead of me), but this student already has a long line of exclusions and detentions and internals just from September so the old cliche of 'it's not just you' has also been trotted out.

I am not a bad teacher. My behaviour management is good. I get that this student is an anomaly within the School and my own teaching experience. But I just feel like hanging my notice in even more now.

If this happened in your school, what would happen?

OP’s posts: |
EdinburghFox Tue 15-Oct-19 17:12:03

Is this the first time you have taught in a challenging school OP? I ask this because I have had this many times over and more, and would see it as par for the course if you work in certain schools / environments. I have also worked in PRU's and some of the behaviour there has to be seen to been believed. Meant nicely, but you sound fairly young / inexperienced - are you?

With regards to the swearing, it's just the same as dealing with any behavioural incident. Manage it professionally, follow the steps and procedures and never take it personally.

Is your reason for feeling unsettled in the job the behaviour or is it something else? If anything, learning to manage these kind of challenges will make you a better equipped and more rounded teacher. But it sounds as though you're not sure about your department / colleagues?

Gigis Tue 15-Oct-19 17:19:09

It's not a challenging school, I said in my original post this student is an anomaly. I'm also not sure it's helpful to imply that my age or experience is why it's upset me because in other places or with more years experience it will seem normal. I have actually worked in a few schools (4) and have only experienced this sort of behaviour as staffroom stories from years ago, my colleagues were just as horrified as me, some have been teaching 20+ years. This attitude is exactly why so many leave - I know that in PRUs etc behaviour like this is normal - which is why I don't want to work in one. I also said that it wasn't a 'fuck off' kind of swear as a kid storms out, which I have experienced. This felt different.

I posted because I felt upset that my new school doesn't feel right and that this incident seems to reinforce this. I just wanted to know what might happen next.

OP’s posts: |
EdinburghFox Tue 15-Oct-19 17:33:21

Okay, well it sounds as if you have not come across a student behaving this badly, as you have stated, which would imply that either you are young with less experience (and you say no), or that you have not been teaching in very challenging environments previously e.g. inner city - which is why I politely asked. I used PRU's as the extreme example, but I have witnessed this many times in mainstream schools in cities. No-one is justifying the behaviour of course. But there is a distinction between being appalled at the child's behaviour and taking it personally to the extent you get upset. My point is that this anomaly incident has upset you quite a bit it seems - unless the reason you are not sure about the school is due to to other stuff. e.g. staff not supporting you etc.

I am sorry that you felt offended to my post but I maintain that if you are 'upset' by this then perhaps you can manage it in a different way. Yes of course teachers feel stressed / overworked / undervalued and so on, I know, believe me. But to feel upset by a child's behaviour (which as you have said is a one off) would suggest to me you are taking it personally rather than objectifying this. It needs to be water off a ducks back that you manage using the school's policy. As long as the other staff support you (which it sounds like they are?) then you need to be resilient. I am sorry if that sounds harsh but its the job. Doctors have to cope with blood and gore and we have to cope with bad behaviour at times.

Now if the other staff aren't supporting you properly, or if the school's system is not dealing with this student then that's a different story. You need proper support and systems in place.

Gigis Tue 15-Oct-19 17:47:39

I don't want to get bogged down in what I should or should not be feeling. I already had misgivings about the school based on a number of factors, behaviour not one of them. I also don't want to get into a discussion about what those misgivings are or how to solve them, I know what my options are. I was simply stating that this incident, coupled with my misgivings, has tipped the scales towards the 'fuck this' side. I apologise if my initial post didn't convey that clearly enough.

I understand very well the resilient thing, and am always professional. I dispute that teachers never get upset by behaviour though. Either you've forgotten a time it happened to you, or it hasn't happened as you've suggested, or you are one of the incredible few who don't feel upset but I think most teachers would feel no shame in admitting they would be upset when called a cunt infront of a class. Obviously I didn't show my upset and followed all the schools procedures. But I am still human. Water off a ducks back and all that is easy to say, and act out in front of the kids but not easy to believe. Anyway, I don't want to get into a debate about this - I'm just curious about what sorts of things would happen in other schools, as it's unclear to me what the next stage will be now I've passed it on.

OP’s posts: |
EdinburghFox Tue 15-Oct-19 18:05:40

If there are other issues with the job then you may well get to the 'fuck this' stage. It doesn't help going into work and being called a cunt, and of course I completely empathise! To my eyes your OP did make this behavioural incident seem like the main issue. If you're saying it isn't then I guess it's a case of weighing up your concerns and thinking about whether these concerns might ease with time / familiarity of the new school or if they are more fundamental than that.

I am honestly not upset when a young person swears at me. I am not saying that to sound like I'm incredible. It used to bother me when I was younger and had less experience, but I learnt that it has absolutely zero to do with me and that I simply let it go at the end of the day. I am honestly not trying to sound smug OP, but really, it is not sustainable to be personally affected each time a child behaves in this way. In some of the places I have worked I would spend all day everyday being upset otherwise.

I'm sure you have behaved very professionally and you sound like you have followed the school's consequences / procedures so now just let it go. I imagine it has been escalated and is being managed by the HOY or SLT, who will have the full context and pastoral info on this child. So unless you are asked for anything further it is not your worry anymore.

If possible, try to find some time to do something nice for yourself this evening. flowers

MC68 Tue 15-Oct-19 18:06:32

May I just say I agree with the tone & content of everything EdinburghFox has written in reply to your posts Gigis. They clearly took the lead in their replies from your postings & I think they offer great advice to you, however I really don’t feel that you’ve grasped that & have reacted quite badly & negatively.
To me it appears your reaction is very similar in the original incident you posted about & here again now; if you cannot take a point of view or advice it would be obvious to not ask for them in the first place. You do sound very young & inexperienced as much from your reaction to what happened in the classroom & to EdinburghFoxs’ posts here too, & perhaps there lies the problem....the way you portray yourself & how you cope/handle people & situations.
Teaching is tough, but students also deserve to be taught by a teacher who wants to be there & teach them; if you don’t want to then quit & go elsewhere as it’s best for both you & your students imho.

shiningstar2 Tue 15-Oct-19 18:08:37

ok. A kid calls you a cunt. It is a matter for senior staff to deal with. Parents informed and brought into school. Isolated in school or suspended externally for a period. Assurances re future behavior sought on re-entry. Possibly placed on report on re-entry. If special needs in any way that dept also brought into meeting with parent. The pupil might be reporting to that department or Head of Year on re-entry.

Chupchup Tue 15-Oct-19 18:14:43

At my school they would have a fixed term exclusion. It would not be acceptable. We all put up with bad language and behaviour and let certain things go, but explicitly swearing at a teacher would be an exclusion for a day.

Gigis Tue 15-Oct-19 18:17:31

Gosh, what a reply! I did apologise for how my initial post came across and can see how it emphasised the behaviour. I think what I wanted more was a vent and a rant and some guidance on what might happen next. Apologies Edinburghfox that I didn't make it clearer.
Anyway, I don't think this is the right forum afterall and anyway with hindsight it's not helpful about what other schools would do, it only matters what mine will.

OP’s posts: |
EdinburghFox Tue 15-Oct-19 18:26:38

I don't think you are hearing the advice that's been offered here. That's your call, but fwiw I think you would feel better if you did. You keep asking what the school is going to do about this student. Assuming there are clear procedures and policies in place, and the HT has said they are managing this from now on then you have to trust that this is happening, and in that instance it is not your lookout any more. You have to wipe the slate clean, go about your teaching and assume the student's behaviour has been managed by senior colleagues. As you said this student was an anomaly there might be all sorts of context you are unaware of / have no need to be aware of (outside agencies, social services, family etc) which the school's pastoral team are dealing with.

The only reason for concern is if you haven't been properly supported in this incident, e.g. if your report was dismissed out of hand or something. But it sounds like it went straight to SLT which means they are taking it on and you don't have to.

Therefore your responsibilities as far as this incident go have been met and your job is to treat that class as normal next time you see them - which you can only do if you have stopped taking this personally.

SabineSchmetterling Tue 15-Oct-19 18:27:01

I think that’s pretty shocking behaviour and I’m not surprised it upset you. It would likely be a 5 day FTE in my school. If it was a student with a long record of that sort of behaviour then the Head would go for PE.
I wouldn’t want to work in a school where kids call staff cunts. I’m not young or inexperienced. My school has well above average FSM and pupil premium and is in an area of London where gangs and knife crime are a huge problem. In local schools, and I’ve visited a fair few, it is not typical behaviour. In school, even quite troubled kids are generally respectful. Someone being called a cunt to their face has not happened in my 10 years at my school, although there have been a small number of “fuck off” incidents and one really abusive rant peppered with “fuck” last year for which a kid was permanently excluded. I don’t find it at all odd that you might now feel a bit apprehensive about whether you have chosen the right school.

GoodbyePiccadilly Tue 15-Oct-19 19:14:41

Been there! Got a class with an incredibly difficult dyslexic boy who ruined every single lesson and kicked up a fuss no matter what I did. Doesn't matter how good you are with behaviour if the school doesn't back you up. Then it's just exhausting and stressful.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Tue 15-Oct-19 19:23:44

I think you've had a bit of a rough deal, OP.

Being shocked and upset at such blatant rudeness is a perfectly natural response. Wondering what would happen in other schools is also a perfectly natural response.

Teachers are humans and certainly shouldn't be made to feel that they are being immature to have emotions which are entirely natural. Yes, we have to move forward and have to accept that the child will be back in our lessons, but also school systems need to ensure that the episode has been dealt with in some way, and the child doesn't just stroll back in next lesson as if nothing has happened.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Tue 15-Oct-19 19:24:45

I'm very old, and very experienced, in very challenging circumstances, for what it's worth.

LaserShark Tue 15-Oct-19 19:24:57

You shouldn’t go to work to suffer verbal abuse. There are signs up on public transport, in post offices and libraries. If these children go out in public and call people a cunt, they will find themselves banned from places, arrested or punched. We shouldn’t accept it as teachers.

It would be a five day exclusion in my school. I work in a huge school with some very challenging and extreme behaviour from a few students. In twelve years, I haven’t encountered this or known a colleague that this has happened to. It isn’t normal and it isn’t ok.

I would never accept that child back in my class again. They would need to move to a different set on their return from exclusion. I would categorically refuse to teach them again.

This kind of behaviour is sending teachers out of the profession in droves. I shudder to think what will be left of the education system by the time my own children are in secondary.

Benjispruce Tue 15-Oct-19 19:28:18

I’m a HLTA and have been called the c word. The pupil (primary) was internally excluded as external exclusions had no effect on his behaviour previously.

LoyaltyBonus Tue 15-Oct-19 19:32:52

I don't think this is normal and part of the job at all. I work in a PRU. A lot of children come to us because of this kind of behaviour, especially if it repeated, so it's it usual for a school to put up with it.

Even in the PRU, it would be dealt with by having parents in, apology to staff member and short term exclusion.

LoyaltyBonus Tue 15-Oct-19 19:34:19

Grrr, *not usual

EdinburghFox Tue 15-Oct-19 19:35:12

People are missing the point here I feel. The OP hasn't said it hasn't been dealt with- on the contrary, it's gone straight to the Head.

BelleSausage Tue 15-Oct-19 19:39:51

You are bit wrong to be upset. It is totally unacceptable behaviour. The students should have a FTE. No doubt about that. Especially if there have been multiple incidents since the beginning of term.

Just as a measure. A boy in my class was in internal today for seeking out another child to start a fight. He never actually hit the kid. The whole lunch time of bullying was enough to trigger an internal.

You school do sound lax.

However, my word of caution would be that it can take a while to fit into a new place. You might feel differently next year. I’m in my second year at a new school and suddenly love. Last year was difficult.

BelleSausage Tue 15-Oct-19 19:40:28

Sorry. It’s meant to say not wrong to be upset

Pinkblueberry Tue 15-Oct-19 19:41:19

Is this the first time you have taught in a challenging school OP? I ask this because I have had this many times over and more, and would see it as par for the course if you work in certain schools / environments. I have also worked in PRU's and some of the behaviour there has to be seen to been believed. Meant nicely, but you sound fairly young / inexperienced - are you?

Wow, well done you hmm Was it your intention to write the most patronising paragraph possible??
I don’t think you sound ‘inexperienced’ at all OP. It’s still early days in a new school so even without challenging behaviour it’s a tough time. Children using that kind of language towards teachers isn’t something that a decent school with a strong leadership team would just accept as something you need to put up with. It sounds like although they are trying to be supportive, they are also a bit in denial and sticking their head in the sand here. You deserve better support.

MC68 Tue 15-Oct-19 19:44:16

^ Exactly...this^

MC68 Tue 15-Oct-19 19:45:08

Sorry that was meant for the last post by EdinburghFox!!

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in