After two terms of bad behaviour and disrespect from pupils, a new teacher is trying to make changes

29th June 2007 at 01:00
After two terms of bad behaviour and disrespect from pupils, a new teacher is trying to make changes. The pupils are not listening to her or responding to any of her new strategies. How can she turn the situation around this term? Or should she leave and find another school?

Amynah, Harrow

A Children, like adults, will be much more inclined to go along with something if they feel that they have had a hand in the decision-making process.

She needs to build relationships with these children, and talk to them about what they want. If she has done that and they are still ignoring her, then it is probably time to move on.

Do her new strategies involve making lessons fun? If they don't, then that needs to be looked at.

The school should also support her and offer her advice on how to deal with the children. This is what senior management get paid for. Use them.

Nick, Kent

A Your colleague may have fallen foul of one of the first laws of teaching: that it's a lot easier to start hard and loosen up than to start lax and tighten up. So what is causing the problem? Perhaps a more experienced colleague could sit in on her classes to help identify the root cause of the issue.Linda, Worthing

A I think the best way forward is for you to give your colleague as much support as possible. At some point you just have to draw a line in the sand, and it sounds as though that point is about to be reached. One thing is for sure: if the pupils sense that a beleagured member of staff is socially isolated and manifestly not being supported by peers, then things will certainly take a turn for the worst.Pat, Brighton

A Don't give up. Remember the importance of the four Rs: Relationships, Rules, Rewards and Routines. Make an effort to talk to pupils in and outside of lessons. Have clear and simple classroom rules with sanctions for poor behaviour, though always emphasise the positive. Emphasise that pupils can make the right or wrong choice with appropriate positive or negative consequences. All good behaviour should be rewarded with an appropriate reward that all pupils will buy into. Routines should be practised so they become second nature and reduce daily stress levels Jack, Wigton

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