The behaviour question

Tom Bennett

I'm a newly qualified teacher and have worked in two different secondary schools part-time this year. To cut a long story short, I have had good feedback but I am thinking of leaving the profession because of behaviour management. Or mismanagement, in my case. I do all the consistency stuff and set detentions and give out reward points and so on, and I can see it has got better. But still they talk over me, they muck around, they answer back and all the rest. Other teachers say it is the same for them but surely it can't be? It is turning me into one of those grumpy old people who think that kids today are out of control. Is everybody else managing OK or are students really talking through every lesson in the country and largely off-task a lot of the time?

What you said


I suspect your behaviour management is actually fine. Possibly not perfect - I don't think anyone is in their first year. You just need to be consistent. Yes, sometimes that means keeping going for a few months. At other times it means keeping going for a year, or sometimes longer.


There will always be off-task behaviour and there will always be mucking around, and, sadly, there will always be rudeness and answering back, too. The students will grow up (eventually) and you will develop techniques that work for you over time.

The expert view

Think carefully before you decide to leave the profession. Not every school is the same and many teachers find that their experience in one institution is radically different from their experience in another. It could very easily be that you have simply been at two slightly ropy schools. There are thousands of others. It would also be a shame for you to leave just as you are starting. It takes most people at least a year of working full time to build up the relationships, trust and skills to run a room efficiently. Don't be hard on yourself. What you are experiencing, most teachers experience. It does get better, I assure you, if you persevere, you care and you keep trying to improve. Good luck. (PS: a lot of children are a bit out of control.)

Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru and Not Quite a Teacher. Read more from Tom on his TES Connect blog (bit.lytombennett) or follow him on Twitter at @tesBehaviour. His latest book, Teacher Proof, is out now, published by Routledge

Post your questions at www.tesconnect.combehaviour.

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Tom Bennett

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