I am a cover supervisor and I am finding my job extremely difficult. Classes usually start with low-level behaviour problems such as shouting out, talking when I am talking and speaking to me in an offhand and disrespectful fashion. When I tell the students to stop, they persist; when I implement the behaviour policy, they are often indignant, argumentative and answer back. My line manager and I have asked for seating plans repeatedly, but most teachers don't bother to send them. I seem to end up giving detentions on a daily basis, but this does not work. I have now received warnings from the vice-principal that the school may take disciplinary action against me as a result of the number of times I send students out, the number of detentions I am giving and behaviour issues that have to be followed up by subject teachers after class. I am so frustrated. Any advice would be gratefully received. Although I have thought about quitting many times, it is not an option, and even if it was, I don't want to give up.
What you said
Talk to your line manager again. Insist that they give you additional support in following up these students in a meaningful way.
I know this sounds crazy but you need to look like you mean business. I had a friend who was struggling with behaviour management and she almost fell over when I told her to tie her hair back. She's really pretty and always looked quite glamorous... the ploy worked.
The expert view
This is a mess. Not you, but the situation in which you find yourself. The problems, as far as I can see, are the students misbehaving and the school failing to support you. What you're trying to do is almost impossible. But you're staying, so what now? Well, the onus should be on the school to support you. If you're following the school behaviour policy to the letter then you're not responsible for what happens. After all, these are the guidelines the school has put in place to control behaviour. I would ask to be observed, with a view to advice being offered. If the school tried to dismiss you for competency, it would be a matter for a tribunal if they hadn't attempted to help you fix this situation.
Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru. Read more from Tom on his TES Connect blog (bit.lytombennett) or follow him on Twitter at @tesBehaviour. Watch his behaviour videos at www.tesconnect.combehaviourvideos
Post your questions at www.tesconnect.combehaviour.