Behaviour Management: The first day back

Weekly updates from Tom Bennett with advice and tips on behaviour and classroom management

Most of us will be preparing to head back to school. The new academic year is about to start. Whether you like it or not, the lazy, hazy crazy days of summer are over for you. The dislocation one feels between the weeks of freedom and the first week back at school is akin to the bends. Though, it doesn’t have to be a trial as long as you remember these basic tips for the first days back with the captains of your heart: the children.

1. Start tough

It is amazing how many teachers, even sensible ones, think they have a few weeks before they have to worry about behaviour management. This is not the case, believe me. You might benefit a bit from the unfamiliarity as the kids adjust back into the classroom. But that won’t last. While they are working out their pecking order and the best angles from which to throw things, you need to be setting yourself up as quickly as possible as he/she who must be obeyed. Put away the smiley faces and the Maltesers left over from last year. It’s time to get your game head on.

2. Set expectations as soon as possible

This means a good talk on rules and consequences in the very first lesson. Even with classes I know really well, I still have ‘the chat’ with them. It lets them know I’m serious about great behaviour and won’t stand for anything that messes with their education.

3. Show them you mean it

If you’ve talked the talk in lesson one, make sure that you walk the walk as soon as someone crosses you. That means detentions and phone calls home. You go the whole nine yards on day one, if you need to. The kids will gasp as they marvel at your integrity, and telepathically say, “What a hard ass. We must not anger this one. She is mighty, and to be feared.”

That’s the plan. Believe me, if you don’t do this, then you’ll be mopping up after your indolence for the rest of the year. Here is wisdom.

Good luck



Tom Bennett is the TES adviser on behaviour and a teacher at Raines Foundation, an inner city state schoolin Tower Hamlets. He regularly supports teachers on TES through our behaviour forum and monthly newsletterson behaviour. Read more from Tom on our behaviour forum or on his blog or Twitter

His latest book, Teacher, is out this month, published by Continuum/ Bloomsbury


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