24th February 2012 at 00:00
The problem: The highlight of my week should be a top set Year 10 (S3) group, but it is being spoiled by a girl who has the knives out for me. A typical lesson will involve her demanding I do something, then shouting and whining. She will also tell lies about me and accuse me of being unfair. This is very wearing. I hope it's "new girl" syndrome - I started the post this year

What you said

Get to know her. She's crying out for attention. Keep her back after a lesson and give her the opportunity to talk.


Consider every demand to be both an interruption and a refusal to follow instructions. If the school has an option to send her out, do so as early as you can while following the behaviour policy.


The expert view

This is not a cry for help, any more than picking my nose is a cry for plastic surgery. It is classic new-teacher abuse.

She probably has a pen and paper every time she complains that she does not. And if she doesn't, she should.

She probably smells the uncertainty from you; one way you communicate this is by feeding her obnoxiousness with your kindness. It has gone beyond intelligent chats with this girl. Stop engaging with her unreasonable needs. Unless she has a medical condition, she is capable of following the rules of your room. She chooses not to, because she does not like youyour lessonsyour style. But who cares? It is not her class. It is yours.

The next time she huffs and cusses because the world does not bend over backwards for her, send her out. Give her a detention. Call home. Meet the parents. And repeat. You may have already tried this procedure, but continue doing so until she realises that it is more trouble to fail to comply than it is to toe the line.

Do not give her the ammunition of your generosity. You have a class to teach and she is one part of it. Be tough and stop treating her chaff as anything other than a nuisance. If you cannot amend this girl's behaviour, then you need to remove her to prevent her from doing any more damage to the others.

Tom Bennett is author of `The Behaviour Guru' and `Not Quite a Teacher'.

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